In the competitive world of late-night television, it can be argued that Jimmy Fallon stands out for a number of reasons. Well, two at least. First, he was determined good enough to walk in the footsteps of such legends as Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien. This was despite a lackluster performance on the big screen. Second, Fallon is one of the rare personalities that became successful simply by being himself.
For the record, things weren’t always rosy and easy for Fallon. In fact, there was even a time when he wasn’t well-liked, at least not by NBC. In the beginning, the network didn’t want Fallon anywhere near “The Late Night” gig. According to Vulture, the comedian recalled as much. While speaking at the New Yorker Festival, Fallon said, “NBC didn’t even want me. I remember them saying, Really, Jimmy Fallon? His movies are terrible. But Lorne was like, don’t worry, he works well and plays well with others. Like I was a kindergartner.”
But then, things eventually lined up for Fallon. And even today, he remains at the top of his game. Over the years, however, certain shady revelations have also emerged regarding the beloved comedian. Check out what we found:
20 He dropped out of college
Way back in 1992, Fallon was going to school at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York where he was pursuing a degree in communications. For a time, it looked like the comedian was all set to graduate and earn his diploma. Except he decided to drop out of the program when he was just one semester shy from graduation. Fortunately, in 2009, Fallon finally got around to finishing his course. According to People, the comedian received his bachelor’s degree 17 years later.
19 He was once the reason his folks stayed up past their bedtime
When Fallon was still hosting “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” the show’s broadcast hours proved to be problematic for his parents’ wellbeing. Apparently, they would go to bed at 10 but wake up at 12:30 A.M. just to watch their son’s show. Fallon recalls being determined to make things easier on his parents by getting them a DVR. He told Vulture, “I was like, ‘You guys don’t look healthy. You’re not getting enough sleep. You have to tape the show.”
18 He once kept his late-night show gig from his parents
When it was determined that Fallon would be the one to inherit ‘The Tonight Show,' everyone working on the show's production was required to remain tight-lipped. Hence, Fallon also opted not to inform his parents. Instead, he only confided in his wife, Nany Juvonen. While talking to Vulture, Fallon explained that his wife “can keep a secret.”
17 He sometimes ends up ignoring his friends
Apparently, Fallon can get wrapped up in a conversation with someone else that he would end up ignoring his friends. This was exactly what happened when Fallon was meeting up with his good friend Seth Herzog at a bar. By the time Herzog showed up, Fallon was already arguing with a stranger about 60s music. Herzog also told Vulture, “He’s like, ‘Come meet me at this place’ and I end up talking to other people because he’s just in it with whoever was there.”
16 He can make it difficult for his friends to go out with him
Among the people in Fallon’s inner circle is chef Mario Batali. And according to his interview with Vulture, just walking five blocks with Fallon would take an hour because the comedian enjoys interacting with his fans. Batali added, “He’s honestly interested and loves everyone and meets everyone, and smiles and takes every picture, and doesn’t put his head down and pretend he’s not out there, which a lot of my high-celebrity friends do.”
15 He's a pretty lousy driver
Fallon himself once confessed that he’s not the world’s best driver. In fact, he declared to Vulture, “I’m the worst driver in the history of the world. My wife does all the driving. I can drive, like, technically, but I’m awful. You don’t want to be in the car with me. I drive slow, I use my blinkers, I’m really nervous. My parents are from Brooklyn so they don’t know how to drive and they taught me how to drive, so it’s like a second-generation gap.”
14 He has a fascination for round objects
It is unclear when this fascination had started but apparently, round objects are all the comedian can think about whenever he’s commuting. He even told Vulture, “A moon pie would be genius, right? When people look at the full moon, I want them not to see the full moon anymore, they just see our logo.”
13 His humor can get dark
For the record, Fallon doesn’t think he has a dark side. But he explained to Vulture, “have a dark sense of humor sometimes, but nothing shady or seedy. There’s gotta be something in there, but I don’t want to find out what is driving me to want everyone to like me. There’s gotta be something in my brain, but I’d rather not know what it is.”
12 He hates certain healthy foods
Batali once attested that Fallon can be quite a foodie. However, you can never make him eat eggplant or mushrooms. And when “Top Chef” contestants visited his show at the Rockefeller Center and prepared food for his birthday bash later on, Fallon was quick to remind them that he seriously hated these foods. Fortunately for him, the contestants complied with his requirements.
11 He can't really stand mayo
Over the years, Fallon has made it clear that he absolutely hates mayonnaise. While hanging out with actress Melissa McCarthy on his show, the comedian declared, “That is the worst thing in the entire world. It reminds me of puss.” Meanwhile, Fallon also once told New York magazine, “I'm disgusted by it. I can't stand it. Blechhh. I could function [if it's on my food], but I won't be happy.”
10 He appeals to drunk people
According to Fallon, his New York night scene is not complete without being greeted by drunk people. He told Vulture, “I kind of enjoy it. It puts you in a good mood when people are happy to see you. It makes you feel like you’re doing a good thing. So I kind of take it as a really positive thing, and if they want to take a photo or an autograph, it’s easy.”
9 His first audition on SNL didn’t go well
Of course, everyone knows that Fallon once worked on “Saturday Night Live.” However, did you know that his first audition didn’t go so well? Fortunately, Fallon was allowed to audition again two years later. And this time, he left quite an impression. As you may know, Fallon landed his dream job. Of this achievement, he once told USA Today, “It was really a weird dream coming true. I would have paid them to be on the show.”
8 He once got caught up in a bar brawl
Back in 2014, Fallon was just hanging out with some friends at the Niagara bar on East Village following “The Tonight Show” when he got pulled into a brawl. A source told Page Six, “There was some hostility from some people at the bar. Jimmy was not the aggressor, but he was caught up in it. It was broken up and Jimmy and his friends immediately left.”
7 He once asked Louis C.K. a bizarre question
On his late-night show, Fallon is typically good interviewing celebrities who sit on his couch. However, it seems that things didn’t exactly go as planned when it came to Louis C.K. When the actor appeared on “The Tonight Show” in 2017, he remarked, “I love napping. I'll probably take a couple more before I got to bed... I'll take an 11:30 p.m. nap, and go to bed at midnight.” Fallon then asked, “You like it better than sleep?” To which, C.K. retorted, “That's stupid you said that. That's such a dumb thing to say.”
6 He seems incapable of asking serious questions
Around the time of the 2016 elections, late-night talk show hosts decided to take a hard line when it comes to interviewing certain relevant personalities who would come on their show. Fallon, on the other hand, didn’t feel the need to do the same thing. Instead, he kept the banter light and funny. Some of his fans may have been disappointed as a result.
5 He was declared California’s public enemy
In 2014, Time declared Fallon an enemy of the state of California. This was after “The Tonight Show” was pulled out of Burbank and moved back to its original home of New York City. In the process though, the comedian costs as many as 200 people their jobs. At the same time, the area of Burbank may have also suffered from the loss of visitors.
4 He once caused people to panic
It all started when Fallon and his sketch partner, Horatio Sanz decided to throw Fallon’s “Charles Lindberg edition” boombox against a wall. At that time, it had only been a month since the terrifying events that rocked New York City in 2001. And when people heard a boom, they immediately thought of the worst-case scenario. Sanz told Vulture, “People were screaming. One woman started crying.”
3 His show was accused of racial discrimination
“The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” once became the subject of a lawsuit after it was accused of racially discriminating against its production staff. The suit was filed by two former cameramen who claimed that they were terminated because of the color of their skin. According to a report from Philly Voice, the lawsuit was eventually settled in arbitration.
2 He has been accused of being racially insensitive
Fallon and fellow comedian Jimmy Kimmel both became the subject of much ire after both were accused of being racially insensitive. The controversy started after Nick Cannon posted on social media to wish everyone Happy Blackface History month. He then added a photo of Fallon, Kimmel and Sarah Silverman doing blackface sketches in the past. He then remarked, “I’m sure we can expect some more “Apologies” by Monday.”
1 He was unsuccessful at the box office
Fallon may already be a hit as a comedian and talk show host. However, back when he was attempting to rule the box office, he didn’t manage to impress. After leaving “Saturday Night Live” to try to pursue a film career, Fallon ended up appearing in several movie flops. These include “Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star,” “Anything Else,” “Factory Girl,” “Whip It,” “Fever Pitch,” and “Taxi.”
References: People, Vulture, New York Magazine, USA Today, Time, Philly Voice