On ‘Late Night,’ Beth Ditto says a Crystal Ballroom crowd urged her to stay in Portland

Late Night with Seth Meyers - Season 11

Beth Ditto with host Seth Meyers on a recent episode of "Late Night With Seth Meyers." Lloyd Bishop/NBC

Beth Ditto, the singer-actor who has won a following for her work with her band, Gossip, as well as roles in such TV series as “Monarch” and “On Becoming a God in Central Florida,” shared an anecdote involving Carrie Brownstein, beauty school, and Portland’s Crystal Ballroom during a recent appearance on “Late Night With Seth Meyers.”

(Miss the episode? You can stream “Late Night With Seth Meyers” on Fubo, which offers a free trial; and on Peacock.)

Ditto, who lives in Portland, was technically on the NBC show to perform with Gossip, which is on tour, and has released the band’s first new music in 12 years.

But prior to belting out “Real Power,” the title song of the new Gossip album, Ditto and Meyers engaged in a lively conversation.

“Look out, Beth is in the building!,” Meyers announced, as Ditto entered.

The host then had a bit of fun with Ditto’s free-range conversational style, which the singer promptly demonstrated, as she shared a variety of anecdotes.

After asking Meyers, “Do you know who Carrie Brownstein is?” Ditto then swerved away from discussing the Portland-based musician known for her work with the band Sleater-Kinney, and the TV series, “Portlandia.”

Instead, Ditto recalled early days in her home state of Arkansas, where she sang in a choir, which included not-so-talented members who were told to mouth the word, “watermelon,” instead of trying to sing.

“So, back to Carrie Bradshaw,” Ditto then said, to which Meyers responded, “Are we talking about ‘Sex in the City’ now? You went from Carrie Brownstein to Carrie Bradshaw.”

“That was comedy!” Ditto replied. She then related how Sleater-Kinney took Gossip with them on tour, and how Ditto thought when it was over, she would return to Arkansas and become a hairdresser.

Continuing her story, Ditto remembered that Sleater-Kinney was playing at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, “which is this lovely venue,” and Ditto told Brownstein her plans to go back to Arkansas.

“Carrie was, like, ‘What are you thinking, why wouldn’t you stay here and just keep playing music?’ I was like, ‘Can’t make a living doing that.’”

Ditto said that Brownstein then asked the crowd, “‘Who here thinks that Beth Ditto should stay here and pursue her rock and roll life and career, and who thinks she should go back to Arkansas and go to beauty school?’”

“And everyone cheered for me to go away,” Ditto joked, quickly adding, “No, everyone cheered for me to stay.”

Meyers seemed impressed, and said, “You know what? We owe a debt of gratitude to that audience in Portland for you being here tonight.”

Related: Beth Ditto talks living in Portland, and her role in Showtime’s ‘On Becoming a God in Central Florida’

Gossip is on tour, and is scheduled to perform in Portland at Project Pabst, July 27. And Sleater-Kinney is performing at the Crystal Ballroom on April 5.

Stories by Kristi Turnquist

— Kristi Turnquist covers features and entertainment. Reach her at 503-221-8227, kturnquist@oregonian.com or @Kristiturnquist

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