Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Dorks Dave Grohl and Jimmy Fallon recall being dissed by cool kids Bowie and Obama, respectively

Dave Grohl, Jimmy Fallon
Dave Grohl, Jimmy Fallon
Screenshot: The Tonight Show

If you’re uncool but still rich and famous, at least you’ll get made fun of by a better class of put-down artist. That’s the lesson learned by both Foo Fighters leader Dave Grohl and late-night host Jimmy Fallon, as they related on Monday’s Tonight Show. And, just to be clear, big stars Grohl and Fallon are the dorks in this scenario, telling stories as they did about being seriously one-upped by David Bowie (Grohl) and President Barack Obama (Fallon).

Laughing it up during Grohl’s appearance promoting Foo Fighters’ A.V. Club-divisive, COVID-delayed new album Medicine At Midnight (which the amenable Fallon was all-in for, naturally), Grohl started out by recalling the time that late legend David Bowie told him to take his new superhero movie song and stuff it. Of course, Bowie did it more charismatically and elegantly than that upon being approached to do the vocals for a Grohl-penned track intended to score some CGI Marvel mishegoss, responding to a Grohl email with an at-first polite explanation that such things weren’t “really my trip.” Fair enough, although Grohl—dorky Bowie fan that he was—couldn’t leave well enough alone, his succinct reply email seemingly coming off as big-timing the rock icon.

Look, according to self-described dad-joke spouting, Crocs-wearing uncool dude Grohl (he even demonstrates the Molly Ringwald dance at one point), Grohl was just being considerate of his hero’s time (and stunned that David Bowie actually used email). That didn’t stop Bowie from immediately firing back a crisp missive reading, verbatim, “Well, that’s settled then. Now fuck off.” It took a number of sweaty emails for Grohl to discover that the effortlessly droll Bowie was just screwing with him, leading to a years-long correspondence of Bowie making Grohl feel very uncool—and yet still cool enough that David Bowie took the time to goof on him. (Fallon also shared his own story of Bowie expertly dressing him down in public. Over his wardrobe, no less.)


As for inveterate goof Fallon, he had a similar tale of being made to see just where he stands on the coolness scale, involving no one less than President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle. Invited to a Fourth of July White House picnic (and, yes, that’s something of a humblebrag) Fallon, naturally, made the choice to dress up. In a three-piece suit. In D.C. in July. So he was pretty swampy when he finally got to hang with the Obamas (fellow attendee Grohl, true to his dad vibe, was in board shorts), his sartorial efforts deflated with some deadpan mockery from the leader of the free world. At least Mrs. Obama playfully loosened Fallon’s strangling, sweat-soaked necktie, showing dorks everywhere that it does get better—if you manage to get famous enough.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

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