Fred Willard talks arrest on 'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon': 'I'm trying to laugh it off'
Fred Willard continues to laugh off his recent arrest for allegedly committing a lewd act while alone at an adult movie theater. Making his first TV appearance since his July 18 arrest, the funny guy appeared on "Late Show With Jimmy Fallon" Thursday night and let the jokes fly.
“Jimmy, what do you want to talk about first?” Willard, 72, asked Fallon as soon as he walked out for the interview. Before Fallon had a chance to answer, Willard cracked: “You know, let me say this: It’s the last time I’m going to listen to my wife when she says, ‘Why don’t you go out and see a movie?’”
Fallon added some humor to the awkward situation, trying to guess which movie Willard was seeing at the Tiki Theatre in Hollywood the night he was arrested. After offering "The Firm," "Free Willy," and "Anaconda," Willard quipped, “No, sadly, it was ‘Get Shorty.'"
From there things took a more serious turn. “It’s very embarrassing,” admitted Willard, whose credits include the movie "Best in Show" and guest roles on "Modern Family" and other TV shows. “It’s embarrassing as hell! But let me say this: Nothing happened. I did nothing wrong, everything’s being sorted out as we speak. I have great respect for the authorities. I mean, when we need a policeman, God bless ‘em, they’re there. But, if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, everything seems suspicious. But it’s very embarrassing. Very painful. And I’m trying to laugh it off. But my summary of the evening is that it’s an interesting theater, boring movie, and a great place to take a nap.”
Regardless of what happens when things get "sorted out," Willard will likely not do jail time or be formally charged for his arrest. The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office determined that his case is eligible for a diversion program, which will require him to complete courses and pay a fee of $380. While that is good news for the actor, at the time the announcement was made, the Los Angeles prosecutor handling the case revealed that Willard had previously been arrested on a similar charge two decades earlier. No other details were revealed about the 1990 case.
While Willard was immediately fired from the PBS series "Market Warriors" following his arrest, he is hosting ABC's improv comedy series “Trust Us With Your Life,” which premiered July 10. The show stars comedians including Wayne Brady, and each week they act out scenes in the lives of guest celebrities, who have included Jerry Springer, Kelly Osbourne, and Serena Williams.