An Interview with Ross The Intern from the Tonight Show with Jay Leno

For as long as I can remember, I have watched the Tonight Show, way back when it was Johnny Carson and his sidekick Ed McMahon. I have also watched the many years of Jay Leno hosting The Tonight Show as well. There was a Tonight Show correspondent that I instantly grew a liking to when I first saw him – Ross Mathews.

Ross “The Intern” Mathews came aboard the Tonight Show almost 5 years ago. He was initially hired on as an intern for The Tonight Show during his senior year of college at the University of La Verne in California. Every day, Ross would go to work as an intern, all the while pursuing his dreams of being a talk show host.

The last day of his internship, the Head Writer of The Tonight Show caught wind that he had dreams of being on television, and so, they gave him the opportunity to do so. They set Ross out on an assignment to cover the Ocean’s 11 premier with actor George Clooney. The rest, as they say, was history. Ross became such an instant success on the Tonight Show that he was soon covering other huge events, such as the Olympics, and the Oscars.

Perhaps it was Ross’ adorable laugh or lovable attitude that filtrated thru the television that made me like him. I believe that it is more the passion for the job that is prevalent when he interviews celebrities that makes Ross so enjoyable. I was greatly pleased when I saw that Ross had his own blog, a form of communication that has become so widely popular. I began to visit his blog regularly, and now do not miss a day of his funny antidotes.

Ross created his original blog, which he is proud (and his fans are excited!) to say has moved to its new home with NBC. The website can now be viewed at: http://blog.nbc.com/ross_blog/ . I am truly happy that Ross has his own blog that brings so many people joy and laughter each and every day.

It is thru Ross’ blog that many of his fans have come to know him. It is also where I mustered the courage to ask Ross for an interview. I must admit that when he said that he agreed to an interview from me, a loyal fan, that it was quite an adrenaline rush. I did, however, have to receive clearance from NBC to have the interview with him.

It should not be without fail to thank Tracy St. Pierre of NBC Entertainment Publicity, who assisted me with this interview! With the appointment date set, and telephone number in hand, I dialed Tracy’s office and was connected with Ross. Let me be the first to say that Ross is just as lovable and genuine on the telephone as he is on television.

I have been truly privileged to have the opportunity to interview Ross, not only for myself, but for all Ross fans. With my interest in television, as well as Ross, the interview was one of the most memorable experiences of my life thus far. Ross is such a great guy, that I was curious if he had any pet peeves. “My biggest pet peeve would have to be about people that are late,” he replied. “I am always early. It’s like when you go to the movies, and you are early and your friends are lateâÂ?¦I think that it is just a respect thing.”

With the business of every day California life, I was curious as to how Ross unwinds. ”
Louise ( his adorable dog) helps to unwind. I walk her every day, and talk to her every day. This sounds silly, but at night, I tell her all the people that love her. I tell her that Nana, my mom, loves her. Another way that I unwind is by watching TV. Somehow though, watching 2 hours of TV always turns into four or more”.

Since I, too, had a desire to once go into Communications, I was curious as to what or who fueled Ross’ dreams to follow such a degree. “My goal is to be a talk show host. I moved from Washington State to California so that I could attend school there, as the logical step was to be closest to LA. I figured that I could go into PR (public relations). People like Rosie (O’Donnell) and Jay (Leno) really inspired me. My mom and I would sit and watch ‘Regis and Kathy Lee’ together, and I knew instantly that that is what I wanted to do. I wanted to talk to celebrities, and make them laugh. I decided that I wanted to do that too.”

Being as Ross is such a fan with television, I wanted to know which television show he would love to guest star on. ” For a scripted show, it would have to be “The Comback”. Or , back in the day, it would have to be the ‘Golden Girls’. I would have loved to play Dorothy’s ( Bea Arthur’s character) brother! If it were a reality tv show, I’d have to say ‘Big Brother’. I know that I would win at ‘Big Brother’!” Working on The Tonight Show, there are many celebrities that Ross runs into and works with. I was curious as to which celebrities he would like to meet. “Well, there are many celebrities that I would like to meet! I have a list of celebrities that I would like to meet. I kind of check them off as I go along. I had always wanted to meet Meryl Streep. Then I did. Check! Gwyneth Paltrow. Check! Anderson Cooper. Check! Oprah. Check! Rosie O’Donnell. Check! I’d still love to meet Liza Manelli and Bea Authur.”

There are many segments that Ross has created for The Tonight Show over the years. When asked what his favorite segment has been for The Tonight Show, Ross replied, “Shopping in London with Gwyneth. That was indeed a crazy experience! The funny thing is that I used to pretend that Gwyneth was my best friend. When I got to meet her, I asked her if she would like to be my best friend, and she said yes! We’ve been great friends ever since”. I can only imagine that working on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno is such fun! Ross confirmed this by stating that, “working on the Tonight Show is a dream! Every day is a ‘pinch me’ moment!”.

There’s no denying that Ross, too, has his favorite things that he enjoys in life. For example, his favorite song is “A Case of You” by Joni Mitchell, and his favorite junk food is anything from the Baked Lays family! ” I am obsessed with Baked Lays! I loved Baked Cheetos, Baked Doritos, Baked BBQ chips. From time to time, I enjoy Funions too.” With all of the hard work and dedication that Ross gives towards his work with The Tonight Show, I couldn’t help but wonder what his favorite vacation spot is. ” I don’t really go on vacations,” he replied. “My favorite place to retreat to is my home state, Washington State.”

On Ross’ blog, he will occasionally throw out a “Random Thought” of the day. A random thought on Ross’ blog is just that- a totally random idea or thought that is indeed spontaneous. One random thought that Ross shared on his blog is about the television show “Unsolved Mysteries”. He suggested that the television show should come back with a new host (excellent idea, in my opinion). This random thought brought about well over 200 comments on his blog. So, I asked Ross to give me a random thought for the interview. “I miss the days where a celebrity on a TV show would say ‘this show was filmed in front of a live studio audience,” Ross stated.

Knowing all of the celebrities that Ross has worked with, I was interested in what the best advice that he has ever received has been. “One day, I was watching Oprah. She said, ‘there is no such thing as luck. It’s when preparation meets opportunity.'”, he commented. What an excellent rule of thumb to live by! My last question for Ross was to see how he would like to be remembered. In his comical self, Ross answered, “ask me in 70 years!”.

It has been indeed a privilege to interview Ross “The Intern” Mathews. I, as well as every other Ross fan know that Ross is indeed going places! Thank you, Ross, for this wonderful opportunity, and I wish you nothing but continued success!

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