Words by Jesse Serwer—
Jimmy Fallon’s reggae-minded barbershop quartet, the Ragtime Gals, made their return last night (watch their original appearance, a cover of Inner Circle’s “Sweat” here), with a version of Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me.” Naturally, they wore their red, gold and green suits. Take a look:
The impression was funny, and Fallon’s moves were convincingly Shaggy-esque. But, as far as versions of “It Wasn’t Me” performed by white people in New York City and broadcast on NBC, Fallon has nothing on Michael Ford, a/k/a “Bill.” Late-night TV aficionados may recall Ford as the Bill Clinton doppelganger from New Jersey who staged one of the most successful runs on Showtime at the Apollo history, with his to-the-tee impersonation of both Shaggy and Rik Rok’s parts from the 2001 pop reggae smash. Oddly enough, Ford’s Clinton—certainly one of the easiest impersonations in the book—was terrible.
Facing down skepticism at his initial appearance, Ford had what seemed like the whole Apollo dancing, singing along and generally eating out of his hands, a feat he repeated week after week after week, minus the skepticism. This was truly a phenomenon: I can recall making it a point to be home on a couple Saturday nights at the time, not to catch the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, but to see Michael Ford doing “It Wasn’t Me” at the Apollo.
Watch three of Michael’s Showtime appearances here: