Mayor keeps one-liners flying as Polar Plunge date with Fallon nears
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter February 26, 2014 4:29PM
Updated: February 26, 2014 8:40PM
Convincing Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon to join in Sunday’s Polar Plunge has been for Mayor Rahm Emanuel what the failed 2016 Olympic bid was for Richard M. Daley: a pleasant diversion from bigger problems.
There have been countless one-liners—most of them exchanged on Twitter–between a comedian who does that for a living and a mayor who prides himself on making wise-guy remarks at somebody else’s expense.
On Wednesday, Emanuel had a few more laughs about his upcoming jump into Lake Michigan with Jay Leno’s replacement.
“I actually said the other day to Jimmy Fallon in his office, ‘One, sunblock [SPF] 30, you don’t need. Two, don’t bring your Speedo. Three, sunglasses and a lawn chair are also not necessary,’ “ the mayor said.
After responding to Emanuel’s goading by agreeing to take the Polar Plunge, Fallon tweeted that he would be wearing a suit and tie. He teased the mayor to wear a necktie as a show of “solidarity” and signed it #Swimmy Fallon.
But, Emanuel said Wednesday, “I will be wearing a tee-shirt and it will highlight the fact that Chicago libraries are No. 1 in America. Two, I made a challenge because of our Summer of Learning [program]. The kids read two million books. That’s why we’re doing this.”
But, he added, “Since it’s only Wednesday and this is Sunday, I’ve asked for a re-count of the two million books to make sure the kids did that before I have to do this.”
For Fallon, the Polar Plunge provides a chance to bolster a Chicago audience that has been his strong-suit and that he desperately needs to prevent NBC from turning back to Leno for a third time.
For Emanuel, it’s comic relief from the more pressing and mundane issues of city finances, under-funded pensions, crime, snow removal and potholes.
That’s apparently why the mayor asked his Hollywood super-agent brother, Ari, for Fallon’s phone number in the first place.
Emanuel and Fallon are scheduled to make the leap into Lake Michigan at 10 a.m. Sunday at North Ave. beach to raise money for the Special Olympics. Weather-permitting or not.