Some kids just dance to the beat of a different drummer, and Gilbert resident Recker Eans is that drummer. The 11-year-old found his calling first as a musician and now as the host of “The Kids Tonight Show,” a Peacock TV original series executive produced by industry veterans Jimmy Fallon and Lorne Michaels.
In many ways, Eans is a typical sixth grade student, but within a few minutes of talking with him, anyone would surely arrive at the same conclusion: Eans is destined for stardom, and he’s already got his foot firmly in that door. He possesses an undeniable musical talent and an outgoing fun attitude, and he already handles media interviews like a show biz veteran. In other ways, he is a typical pre-teen who just wants to talk about going back to in-person schooling and his busy schedule.
“In fifth grade, we were online,” says Eans, who is now a sixth grader at Coronado Elementary. “Honestly, I’m not a big fan of online school. I like in-person; I like the interaction.”
Each week, he plays with his band, The Twits, and they’ve been performing quite a bit. Then, there’s his involvement with “The Kids Tonight Show.” Eans expounds, “Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of ‘Kids Tonight Show’ promotions and voiceovers for all the episodes, which has been super fun. And I take lessons at School of Rock in Gilbert, which is where I learned how to play the drums, guitar and bass. I’ve also been doing a lot of rehearsals and writing with my band.” Specifically, Eans prefers the heavy metal genre.
A seasoned performer, Eans loves the ongoing gig he has with The Twits, which take the young musicians everywhere from the Marquee Theatre and Van Buren in Downtown Phoenix to Prescott and even to other states. His love of music isn’t something that blossomed when he was a child; rather, he’s always been rhythmically inclined. As he explains it, “It started in the womb.”
“I always drummed on my mom’s belly,” Eans laughs. “My mom and dad have taken me to concerts since I was a baby. My first concert was the Warped tour’s ‘Blessthefall’ concert, and I was drumming on my dad’s shoulders. Drums are my main thing.”
His musical talent coupled with his bubbly personality made Eans a natural fit for “The Kids Tonight Show” hosting gig. So far, he has shot 20 episodes in New York City over the span of six weeks. “It was so much fun. I’ve had some experience, but this was amazing. The crew and the cast were amazing. I bonded with Mykal-Michelle (Harris), I loved Olivia (Perez), and (Young) Dylan was amazing,” Eans says of his fellow show hosts. “Jimmy (Fallon) is so awesome. He’s like a big kid.”
Eans continues, “It’s crazy being in that building at 30 Rock. Like ‘Saturday Night Live’ is shot there, ‘Nightly News,’ ‘The Tonight Show’ and now ‘The Kids Tonight Show’ is shot there. It’s just cool to be a part of that experience.”
“The Kids Tonight Show” according to Eans, “somewhat follows the format of Jimmy Fallon’s ‘The Tonight Show.’” Eans serves as a show host and the drummer. “It’s kind of like, we play his best games, but we’re kids doing it, so we make it super funny and weird,” he says. “We do monologues and kid jokes, but adults can laugh and watch it, too.”
So how does a Gilbert pre-teen land a job on a national TV show? A casting director found Eans on Instagram. “I did the first audition, and I thought I did terrible,” Eans recalls. “But two weeks later, I got a call back, and they said, ‘Next audition is next week.’ After another round of auditions, COVID-19 caused everything to come to a screeching halt for almost a year-and-a-half.
Once filming began in New York, Eans was admittedly nervous, but after a few shows, he shook off the jitters, got comfortable and really started having fun with it. “I had been on camera before, but not like this,” he explains. “There was a live audience, and it was amazing. I love the live audience. It’s the best feeling because you give energy back and forth to each other.” He is also proud that after a few days of filming, he mastered the use of a teleprompter.
Now on hiatus from filming “The Kids Tonight Show,” Eans looks forward to his regular gig with The Twits: On First Fridays in Phoenix, the band performs on Roosevelt Row and 2nd Street. “I play for a crowd, and I’m so used to that because I’ve been doing it for six years now,” he explains.
Although stardom has come calling for Eans, he ultimately feels at home in Gilbert. “I would love to move to New York, but honestly, I’m such a Gilbert kid,” he finishes. “I love Gilbert — it’s my favorite place. Downtown Gilbert is amazing.” As for thoughts of a second season? “I would love that,” the young talent says, “but I think that’s a parent issue to figure out.” Visit reckereans.com to learn more about this rising musical star.