Last Updated Sep 12, 2015 9:08 AM EDT
It was the ultimate Donald Trump spectacle. There were lights, cameras, a little action and, certainly, millions of viewers.
Sitting on a late-night couch Friday for the first time since announcing his run for the presidency, Trump delivered a long, rambling monologue on "The Tonight Show" that started with how to get the country respected again and evolved to his crowd sizes at various rallies.
"There's a movement going on that's amazing to watch," Trump said.
"What the heck?" Jimmy Fallon, the show's host, responded, flabbergasted.
"Did I ask about stadiums?" Fallon asked. "I don't know what the hell just happened."
"I don't even remember what the question was."
"Not that important," Trump said.
It was classic Trump. And for the record, the question that Fallon asked had nothing to do with crowd sizes.
For a candidate who seems routinely irritated by those who throw barbs at him -- whether it is a fellow presidential candidate such as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal or a comedian like Jon Stewart -- Trump allowed himself a fair bit of ribbing from Fallon.
The GOP front-runner appeared in an uncharacteristically self-deprecating sketch before the actual interview. Fallon dressed as Trump, and Trump played his mirror's reflection - a meta made-for-television moment.
Fallon -- playing Trump -- went into his dressing room preparing for the interview.
"The only one qualified to interview me is me," Fallon, as Trump, quipped.
"Me interviewing me," Trump, ever the showman, said. "That's what I call a great idea."
When the actual interview took place, Fallon led off with asking Trump about his thoughts on Sept. 11 and what the day meant to him.
"In a certain sense, it means strength," Trump said. "Because the way the city came back, I've never seen anything like it. And the country came back, and the city came back. There is a great strength and resilience that we have in this country."
It was a markedly different tone than what Trump has said on the day in the past.
On Friday morning, Trump deleted a tweet posted to his account two years ago, when he said, "I would like to extend my best wishes to all, even the haters and losers, on this special date, September 11th."
Trump even found something nice to say about fellow GOP candidate Carly Fiorina after being prodded by Fallon.
"I think she's a very nice woman," Trump said. Earlier this week, in a story for Rolling Stone, Trump caused a firestorm when he was quoted saying, "Look at her face. Who would vote for that?"
The biggest laugh from Friday's interview was when Fallon asked Trump if he's ever apologized for anything.
"I fully think apologizing is a great thing," Trump said. "But you have to be wrong."
It is this unapologetic bombast that has carried the real estate mogul to a commanding lead in the polls.
While he didn't criticize any of his GOP rivals by name in the interview, he did go after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is having her own campaign struggles on the Democratic side. Fallon asked what he thought would be found on Clinton's private email server.
"I think a lot of bad stuff." Trump said to laughter from the audience. "I think it's something she should not have been doing. She's got her server in her bathroom in a place in Denver. I mean, what's going on? It's wrong."
In some ways, Trump may have felt at home being the marquee name for a night on an NBC show. Trump started hosting "The Apprentice" franchise in 2004, which was watched by millions and became the show with which Trump's celebrity was most synonymous.
Earlier in the day, Trump announced on Twitter that he had purchased NBC's stake in the Miss Universe Organization.
Trump's late-night tour is just beginning. On Sept. 22, Trump will appear as a guest on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."