The news has gone un-slow-jammed since Brian Williams’s last Tonight Show appearance in December, but on Monday night Jeb Bush revived the skit — and he did it in two languages. Overall, Jeb! was much stiffer than “Big Brilly style,” but when Fallon inquired about his stance on immigration, Bush responded, “Well, Jimmy, we’re a nation of immigrants, and I believe everyone should have the chance to achieve the American Dream,” then repeated the sentence in Spanish.
Several politicians have slow-jammed the news in the past, but Bush’s appearance, just a day after he officially launched his campaign, is still notable. Mitt Romney, the last GOP presidential nominee, avoided late-night appearances altogether during his campaign, arguing that they aren’t “presidential.” (He’s loosened up since then and actually slow-jammed with Fallon last year.)
Bush wasn’t the most polished late-night guest, but after a weird comment about how it’s a great time to be an American because “literally, we’ll have driverless cars, we’ll have diseases cured, we’re on the verge of an extraordinary times,” he successfully transitioned into humanizing banter about his family and his marriage. He revealed that he’s been called “Jeb” since birth (short for John Ellis Bush, not Jebediah, as Fallon called him during their duet). He also told the tale of how he met Columba, his wife of 41 years, during a high-school trip to Mexico. “I was not so hot in Spanish and she wasn’t so hot in English, but you know, when you’re in love you can overcome those barriers pretty quick. There’s another language that matters the most,” Bush said, sparking hoots from the audience. “Hey, we’re done slow-jamming,” Fallon quipped.
Finally, they discussed how Bush has lost 30 pounds on the scientifically dubious Paleo diet. He admitted that eating like a caveman makes him “hungry” and “grumpy,” but said he gets a weekly cheat day, which he saves for “burritos and tacos” with his family. The former Florida governor has been known to turn down the many non-Paleo treats he’s offered on the campaign trail, but he was game when Fallon surprised him with a coquito. It’s Puerto Rican, not Mexican, so it’s not entirely clear why that was Fallon’s drink of choice (other than the fact that he loves them), but Bush politely took a sip.