“You never know what bit or what game is going to work,” admits “The Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon. Whether it’s a shot-for-shot parody of Dead or Alive‘s “You Spin Me Right Round” music video with Paul Rudd or donning a grey wig to rap as Bernie Sanders, the late night host is always trying to “think back to the originators of ‘The Tonight Show,'” who would do anything for laughs, when coming up with ideas. Watch our exclusive video interview with Fallon above or listen to the audio version below.
Fallon has been sitting at the iconic “Tonight Show” desk since 2014, and he always hopes to come up with “something refreshing,” not just for the writers, “but for the audience too. What can you do that’s different, besides just… a monologue and a talk show? I want to try and do anything different.”
This year, for instance, Fallon traveled to Puerto Rico with Lin-Manuel Miranda for an episode to help raise relief funds for the hurricane-ravaged island. “It really changed me,” he reveals. “That’s the most proud of anything I’ve done in my career.” Fallon was so touched by Miranda’s efforts to move his hit Broadway show “Hamilton” to the American territory that he decided he would do the same with his show. “Looking in the eyeballs of everyone on that island” who were “so happy” to see him “made me want to do such a better show.”
He also paid homage to Garry Shandling‘s beloved HBO series “The Larry Sanders Show” for his fifth anniversary on “The Tonight Show.” It turns out that hosting a real talk show “is almost exactly like” that HBO series, which took audiences behind the curtain of a late night program headlined by a vain, insecure comedian (Shandling). With the encouragement of his wife, producer and writer Nancy Juvonen, Fallon decided to do “a behind the scenes” episode that would imitate the look and style of “Sanders,” and he enlisted fellow “Saturday Night Live” alum Tina Fey, animal expert Robert Irwin, and Ben Stiller in a panda costume to be the guests.
To date, Fallon has won six Emmys out of 19 nominations: two as Best Comedy Guest Actor for hosting “Saturday Night Live” (2012 and 2014) and four for Best Interactive Program (“Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” in 2009 and 2010; “The Tonight Show” in 2014 and 2015). He hosted the Golden Globes in 2017.
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