Tonight, Thursday, December 17, will be technically be Bruce Springsteen’s first appearance on The Tonight Show since 2006, although it is more accurately described as his fifth appearance on a Late Night program hosted by Jimmy Fallon (his 2010, 2012 and 2014 appearances were on Late Night). It also looks to be the first time that Bruce will appear for an interview only, rather than performing with either The Roots of the E Street Band.
As the “lead” guest on the program, however, it does stand to reason that Bruce will appear in some sort of comedy sketch. One wonders if Jimmy and Bruce’s “duets” have run their course and something new will be tried this time. I personally think Bruce would be an ideal matchup in one of the show’s trademark features, the host and the guest facing off in an often-hilarious game of skill and/or chance. He seems to me to be well-suited as to oppose Jimmy in Egg-Russian Roulette.
Two days later will be Bruce’s third appearance on Saturday Night Live. Musical guests are typically allotted two songs on the program. The prediction here is that the first will be “Meet Me in the City,” as the focus track from the Ties That Bind box set. The second song is tougher to predict, but it just may well be “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” in deference to the season and that this will be the “Christmas episode” of Saturday Night Live.
SNL has found room for some musical guests to get three songs (Bruce performed three during his first appearance on the program in 1992), so “Hungry Heart” could probably slip in if that third song was played, with “Santa Claus” perhaps being an ending to the show.
Bruce has never appeared in a sketch on the program before; the closest we’ve seen was Jimmy Fallon and Rachel Dratch’s “Boston Teens” (Sully and Denise) attending a Springsteen concert.* (One wonders if Bruce not making an appearance was by choice (that he didn’t want to) or perhaps due to lack of rehearsal time (the band was touring at the time, and wasn’t present in New York until the day of the show).
Given the star power of hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, the show may be hard pressed to find room to put Bruce in a sketch, assuming he would want to be involved. The better bet, if one wants to see Bruce exercise his acting chops, is on Thursday.
*A sketch that seems to have eluded the SNL online video archives, hence the lack of a link. A transcript of the sketch can be found here.