Late night fame

Senior takes a shot at TV acting in Fallon’s intern competition

by Carolyn VanBrocklin, September 22, 2009

When Joanna Bateman first met Jimmy Fallon, she never thought she’d have the chance to be an intern on “Late Night,” his NBC evening talk show.

Senior Joanna Bateman, left, has met Jimmy Fallon twice. She recently entered a competition to be an intern on Fallon’s talk show, “Late Night.”

Senior Joanna Bateman, left, has met Jimmy Fallon twice. She recently entered a competition to be an intern on Fallon’s talk show, “Late Night.”

The senior acting major met Fallon the summer after her freshman year in New York when she and a friend went to see him on “The View.” The second time Bateman met Fallon, she and the friend had gone to see him in a stand-up routine at The Ohio State University.

After the show, she went to the stage door and the two chatted. She told him she was an actor, and she “told him I was a believer in positive thinking” and that she would be on his show one day.  He was impressed with her ambition and signed her notebook as a token for her to show him if she did make it onto his program.

Then one Thursday in August before school started, Bateman was watching “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and heard about the Late Night intern contest.   Applicants had to submit a video by midnight the next day discussing why they wanted to be the late-night intern.

Bateman knew she was comfortable being in front of the camera. Her dream was to be a comedic “girl-next-door” type of actress or “Saturday Night Live” girl.

That night, Bateman said, her mind was racing and she couldn’t sleep.   The next morning she left Ohio for Elon to create her video submission.

On the way, she called communications professor Jay McMerty to ask for help in creating the video.  At 2 p.m. she reached Elon and immediately started working on her submission. It was simple because of the time constraints.  Bateman decided to do a split-screen of herself as a professional introducing herself as a college student in the TV studio.

A few weeks went by, and Bateman had forgotten about the contest. Then she received an e-mail from the show informing her they wanted to use a clip of her entry on the air.

That night, Fallon mentioned the contest submissions and showed six of them, one of which was Bateman’s.

“That’s my dream, to be on TV,” Bateman said.  “I was freaking out.” “If I did win, I’d be so into it.”

She has many ideas for what she’d like to do as the “Late Night” intern and many connections at Elon to make her vision happen.

“I would just love to get that job, but I will be OK if I don’t,” she said.

The contest winner was selected  Sept. 18, but unfortunately, Bateman was not chosen.  Jason Sheedy from The Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Ga. was announced as the winner.

“After seeing that the first task that [Fallon] gave the intern was to run and get the studio audience all donuts, I was thankful that I didn’t have to do that,” said Bateman. “I still can see myself on the show one day, but as a guest not an intern anymore.  Sitting beside his desk, it’ll make for a good story to tell.”


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