Last night on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Cher made a surprise visit. Along with a few different performances, she opened up about the hardships she faced with her partner Sonny Bono when the two started to develop their musical comedy act in 1969. She told a story about their time performing at the Elmwood Casino in Windsor.
Cher appeared on the show to promote “The Cher Show,” a Broadway musical about her life and career. Fallon asked her if there were moments in her career that were hard.
“There were certain parts that were really difficult and I was struggling,” Cher told Fallon. “One of the stories that is the truth, is that Sonny and I were really famous and our career just went off a hill. We had no money and we had no job and we owed the government $278,000. We just got in a car and headed towards Windsor, Ontario and started our life again.”
Sonny and Cher performed at the Elmwood for three weeks in September of 1969 and stayed in a seedy motel eating in their room. Cher was miserable, but during their time in Windsor, they slowly developed an act that would change everything.
“Sonny just said you’re going to wear a gown and I’m going to wear a tuxedo and we’re going to see what can happen. And the people hated us. I finally got so pissed off I turned around – like sometimes you do – and started to make the band laugh. And the band will laugh at anything. Then we got really good and Sonny thought this was great, so we started to have this thing where we made the band laugh first and then we started making the people laugh and then the people started to love us.”
Shortly after their appearance in Windsor, Sonny and Cher brought the new show to Vegas and later in 1970 starred in their first television special, The Nitty Gritty Hour, which was a mixture of slapstick comedy, skits, and live music – a variation of the show they developed right here in the Rose City. That TV appearance was a critical success and it led to numerous guest spots on other television shows.
Along with her interview, Cher performed the hit “I Got You Babe” with actress Micaela Diamond, who plays her onstage, as well as actor Jarrod Spector, who plays Sonny Bono. She also joined the cast for a performance of “If I Could Turn Back Time” while Fallon and Cher took on a version of “Believe.”
“The Cher Show” opened on Broadway in December and is currently playing at the Neil Simon Theatre. It features three actresses in the role of Cher and follows her over the course of her career. The official Broadway cast recording will be out May 10.
Watch the complete episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at CTV online.