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Michelle Obama on Childhood Fire Drills and Taming Barack Obama’s Tardiness

Michelle Obama on Childhood Fire Drills and Taming Barack Obama’s Tardiness


-Hey, guys.
-Welcome back to the show. -Hi, Jimmy!
-Nice to see you. -It’s good to see you, too. -Congrats on everything
and this book. -Thank you.
-The number 1 book right now. 3.5 million copies sold?
-Yeah. -Number 1 book…
[ Cheers and applause ] -Thank you, guys.
-…of 2018. -The baddest playlist on Earth. -Yep.
-My boy. -Yeah.
-Questlove. -Questlove, yeah.
-Thank you. [ Cheers and applause ] -This is interesting.
When you do your book tour, you have a playlist of music
that you play during the event. And it was made
by our very own Questlove. -Yes, indeed. -How did you
hook up with Questlove? -Just called him and said —
[ Laughter ] “What you doing?
You free?” -“You free,” yeah.
-“You want to hook me up?” And he was like,
“Okay, I’m on it.” -Yeah.
-And so, he went in. -She asked me for like
40 or 50 songs. -Yes.
-And what’d you give her? -1,100. [ Laughter ] -I mean, he doesn’t mess around.
-I know, I know. And it’s available
on Spotify and Pandora. -Spotify and Pandora, yeah. -What is the playlist?
What is it called? -It’s the — I think the
Michelle Obama Musiquarium. That’s what I called it.
-The Musiquarium, yeah. -I am honored.
-Can I — Normally, when someone
writes a book… -Mm-hmm.
-…they come do talk shows, but then they go to
maybe, like, a bookstore, a Barnes & Noble,
you know, whatever it is. You sold out
the Barclays Center tomorrow. -I know.
-Sold out stadiums. [ Cheers and applause ] What?
-It’s a trip, yeah. -I knew it was gonna be big, but did you think
it was gonna be this big? -No. No.
Absolutely not. I mean, we started,
you know, selling tickets, and then,
they were selling out fast. And then we wanted to make sure
everybody had access, and then I wanted to have
a lot of young people there. So I wanted to give
10% of every house away, and I wanted to give
thousands of tickets away, so we had
to have a bigger venue. -Yeah. -And it just got bigger
and bigger and bigger. -You’ve given over 15,000
tickets away to people that either couldn’t afford it
or just couldn’t get tickets. And then, also, tomorrow night,
250 Blue Star families… -Yeah, absolutely.
-…are gonna be there. That’s amazing that you’re doing
and giving that back. [ Cheers and applause ] -Thank you. -It’s “Becoming,” and you see
you “becoming,” Michelle Obama. -Yeah.
I’m becoming me, yes, yes. -I love the dedication.
If you don’t mind, I’d just like to say it —
“To the loves of my life, Malia and Sasha,
my two most precious peas, who are
my reasons for being. And Barack who always promised
me an interesting journey.” [ Laughter ] -It’s true. -“And Jimmy Fallon.”
[ Laughter ] I thought that was thoughtful,
and I feel — We don’t have to show it, but I just thought
that was thoughtful. -I couldn’t leave you out.
-You didn’t have to do that. -I couldn’t leave you out.
We’ve done so much together. You’ve been such a part
of my journey of “becoming.” -I know,
but you didn’t even ask. I mean,
you didn’t get permission. I’ll give it to you now.
-I should have. I’m sorry.
I am sorry about that. -No problem.
-I’m glad you’re okay with it. -Yeah, I’m totally cool with it.
[ Laughter ] I just to want —
You’ve made a real impact on every issue
that you’ve worked on. You touch upon it in the book.
I want to remind everyone, thanks to you,
45 million kids are eating healthier
breakfasts and lunches. 1 million students…
[ Cheers and applause ] …are getting 60 minutes
of physical activity every day. [ Cheers and applause ] You persuaded businesses
to hire or train more than 1.5 million
veterans and military spouses. [ Cheers and applause ] A billion dollars invested
in girls’ education worldwide. I mean —
[ Cheers and applause ] Every time we’ve talked to you,
you always had a new initiative. -Well, and you help me
every step of the way. I mean, you guys
were always down for anything that allowed us to shine a light
on those issues. And we had fun doing it,
which is one of the reasons why we were so successful,
is because you brought humor to a lot of the stuff
that was serious. So, I love you for that,
and I will — I will — -Absolutely.
The feeling’s mutual. [ Cheers and applause ] -What is happening with the
Global Girls Alliance? -You know,
we are actually raising money. We’ve got a number
of interesting projects online that people can fund directly. So, one of the things we
wanted to do with the alliance is find some of
the best work happening all over the world
and allow people, like you guys, to get online, learn about it,
and fund it directly. And my hope is that,
this year, at some point, I’ll be able to go and visit
some of those programs. But we’ve had a big summit,
pulling young leaders together, meeting some of the people
on the ground, doing the work. So, we’re moving and grooving.
-Yeah. -So, yeah.
-You really are. [ Cheers and applause ] So many stories I want
to discuss in the book. It’s such a great read. I got to talk about
your brother, Craig. -Craig, my big brother.
-Your big brother. How many years apart
are you and Craig? -He’s like 1 1/2 years.
-Yeah. -But he’s like 6’6.” He’s my big brother, and it’s
hard to be much taller than me. But I look up to my brother.
-Yeah, you do, yeah. You’ve got some pretty
funny stories in here about — The fire drill? -Well, most people know
my father had M.S. growing up. And part of the story
is sort of showing how, when you have a parent
with a disability, you kind of feel like
you have to plan a little bit more,
because, you know, my dad couldn’t walk without
the assistance of a cane, and, eventually,
he was in a walker. So, my brother was always
kind of in his doomsday mind-set when he was younger. It’s like, “What will happen
if I go blind?” So he would ask me
to blindfold him, and he’d walk around the house
to make sure he could get around if he got blind.
[ Laughter ] He — There was a time
that he had me tie his right hand
behind his back just in case it got cut off.
[ Laughter ] No, seriously. So that
he would be ambidextrous, and he would do that for a week.
-Wow. -And so, in the book,
I talk about how we were really obsessed about
fires and how we’d get out because we lived
on the second floor, and then,
how we would get dad out. So he would make us
run fire drills and make my father
lay on the floor so he could drag him
around the house. [ Laughter ] You know, and this tells you
a little bit about my father, who was a very, you know —
He was a very dignified man. But he humored us
because he knew. And I was always his little —
Yeah. -I was his sidekick in all this. I was his assistant,
so I had the, you know, notepad, and I was checking
the fire alarms, and, “Get on the floor, Dad!”
[ Laughter ] And then he’d drag him. -“Come on.
We did this five times already.” -That’s right.
That’s right. And he was like 10 years old. He was a little kid,
but he thought, “If something goes wrong,
I’ve got to be ready.” So that’s one of the reasons
why we’ve learned to be prepared and on time,
which my husband had to kind of
get around to that. He didn’t…
[ Light laughter ] He wasn’t good with time
until we got married. -You said that the first time
you met him, right…? -And he was late!
The first time — First day of work,
his first job, dude was late. I was like,
“Triflin’ brother…” [ Laughter ]
You know? I was like, “I don’t know
about you,” you know? But eventually, he came around. When we had little kids,
and he’d be the kind of person who would call and say,
“Honey, I’m on my way home.” -Yep. -And it would be hours
before he’d get home, only to find out that he didn’t
know what “coming home” was. I said that’s where hope
actually began. He was hopeful
that he would get home. [ Laughter ]
-Too much work. -But he couldn’t quite,
you know… So I had to start telling him,
“Well, you tell me where you are,
and I’ll tell you how long it’ll take you to get home.”
[ Laughter ] -See, that’s a partnership
right there, absolutely. -He didn’t get our on-time gene. He’s much better now
after 26 years of marriage. -Is that right?
-Yeah, yeah. -Oh, my gosh.
Congratulations. -He’s gotten much better.
-I’m going on 11. It’ll be my anniversary
this week. -Well, bless your heart.
[ Cheers and applause ] Congratulations.
-And I have two girls. -Yeah.
-They’re 4 and 5 now. A lot of people come up to me,
and they go, “Oh, don’t you miss
when they were babies?” -Like, “No way.”
-I don’t. -Babies are cute,
but they’re hard. -Yeah.
They’re cute, but they’re hard. That’s great.
But I like who they are now. -Every age they are, yeah. They’re interesting,
they have things to say. -That’s what I’m saying. -And don’t you find
they’re so very different? -Oh, my God.
-You think you are a good parent until you have a second one,
and then you realize you had nothing
to do with the first. -No, they’re just
their own people. -Yeah.
-Oh, completely. They’re totally
two different kids. Now you have —
You have teenagers now. -I have young ladies.
-Young ladies. -Young women, yes.
[ Cheers and applause ] -And you — do you — Do you miss
when they were babies now? -No, I loved the baby stage. I’m like you —
I love every age, but now
they’re really interesting. We’re friends. There are boyfriends
we can talk about. -Isn’t that amazing? -You know, they drive,
so they can — you know, they can earn money,
so they ask for less. I love it.
[ Laughter ] -My babies will never have
boyfriends or learn to drive. They’re not
leaving the house at all. They’re just
staying in one room. -I’ve always said,
as quiet as it’s kept, the second term
of the presidency was really fueled
by Barack’s desire to keep them with their agents
into their teen years. He was like,
“We’ve got to win, because I don’t want those girls
walking around.” He wanted
men with guns with them. [ Laughter ]
-Taking care, exactly. -He worked extra hard
on those votes. He’s like, “Come on, voters!” -We’ve done a bunch of great,
funny bits, and I love
that you just get out there and you talk to everybody
and you’re so personable. But people
really connect to you. And you say in the book
it’s about liking yourself. -Yeah.
-That makes you connect. Explain that a little. -Well, I think people
can smell inauthenticity. You know?
And if you’re not comfortable in your own skin,
that comes across. You know,
that’s one of the challenges, I think,
that politicians have, because politicians
aren’t always “people” people. And you have to really enjoy
people, because folks will — they will sense that. So, for me, I am Michelle Obama
behind the scene in the Blue Room,
when we’re acting up, when I’m in the White House
as First Lady, when I’m here. I’m always the same person, and it’s easy
to keep up with that. I don’t have to make up a story
of who people think I should be, and in that way,
it allows me to be comfortable and enjoy every minute
of my time with the people that I meet.

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