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Awkward Duluth newscast banter lands on Jimmy Fallon

An awkward exchange from a recent Duluth news cast landed in Jimmy Fallon's monologue during Wednesday night's episode of "The Tonight Show."

Fox 21's Sam Ali segued out of his sports coverage by saying of two local teams: "So hopefully they don't tie again, because no one likes ties.

"I mean, I like bowties," added Ali, who was wearing a bowtie at the time.

News anchor Dan Hanger asked if it was new and told his colleague that he looked like a birthday present.

"So you wanna ... open me? Find out what's in?" Ali asked.

The rarely quipless Hanger was quipless. He took a beat, made a comical grimace and weakly responded "It's cold and I don't know."

Nikki Davidson was quick with a "I think it's just best we go."

Fallon doubled over with laughter after showing the clip — "The woman in the middle is like 'Coming up, I apply for a job at a new station'" — and studio band The Roots cracked up.

A video of the banter-gone-bad posted on Facebook earlier this week had 51,000 views, 564 shares and more than 300 comments as of midday Thursday.

Hanger said he had heard from hundreds of friends, former colleagues and family members since the clip aired — but he doesn't actually think it's that funny.

"The stuff I've said on the news before ..." Hanger said. "Nothing really fazes me. Throw it at me, I'll throw it back. I thought of dozens of things I could say — at the bar."

Hanger said he thinks people like a moment of authentic awkwardness, that it's relatable.

"People are laughing," he said. "That's good."

Hanger did get one good laugh out of it: Years ago he was fired from KBJR. Now, here he was, back on NBC.

"Suckas," Hanger said in a text message.

Ali, who originally shared the awkward moment on social media, Tweeted in all caps, "Holy crap I was on Jimmy Fallon tonight," and later mused that he would be back covering soccer — he doesn't get the day off for going viral.