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Emmanuel the emu (kinda) gets his closeup with Jimmy Fallon on ‘The Tonight Show’

A woman wearing overalls and a hat stands beside a man wearing a suit in front of a curtain
TikTok star Taylor Blake, without her interrupting emu that’s brought viral fame, with host Jimmy Fallon during his “Tonight Show” monologue Thursday night.
(Todd Owyoung/NBC)

All over TikTok, you’ll see Emmanuel the emu interrupting keeper Taylor Blake, poking his beak in front of the camera (and occasionally knocking it off the tripod) while she tries to record videos. After the videos spread like wildfire over the app, Blake appeared Thursday on “The Tonight Show,” where host Jimmy Fallon did some interrupting of his own.

Emmanuel didn’t actually show up to Fallon’s studio because, as Blake joked to NBC News, he lives in Florida and can’t fly. Instead, an emu puppet poked its beak in front of the studio camera, ignoring Fallon’s warnings to back away from the camera.

In using his huge platform to promote a digital asset he owns, Jimmy Fallon invited uncomfortable questions about the role of celebrity influence in the NFT craze.

“Emmanuel, no, don’t do it. You’re being a menace!” Fallon exclaimed, echoing one of the viral videos. “Can I get someone to help me?”

Eventually, Blake pops on screen to try to reason with the bird, but soon enough she has another foe: Fallon himself.

“Oh, no, not you too, Jimmy,” she said. “Jimmy don’t do it. ... Choose comedy, choose joy. James Thomas Fallon Jr., don’t you do it.

“You know what? You two go ahead.”

Emmanuel first appeared on the @knucklebumpfarms TikTok earlier in July. Blake told the Washington Post she’s been raising Emmanuel on the farm since 2015, and that he would frequently interrupt her videos. After rewatching an old clip, she saw the humor and decided to post it.

The numbers went crazy.

“Emmanuel’s just kind of a down-to-earth guy,” Blake told the Post. “I don’t really think he cares [about being famous] .... “I have talked to him about it a few times, but he hasn’t really had much of a reaction. I think he’s just … adapting to this new life of fame.”

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Blake, meanwhile, says she’s been “overwhelmed” by the attention the emu has received.

"[It’s] fun, lighthearted content where you’re not having to worry about politics, you’re not having to worry about all the terrible things that are going on in the world right now,” she told the Post.


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