The road to success for Jimmy Fallon has seemed like a smooth ride — at least, to any outsiders. The comic is opening up about how he has gotten to where he is and the secrets to his success.
Fallon spoke with Men’s Journal, explaining that his dad would tape Saturday Night Live when he was a kid, “skipping over the dirty bits.” He and his sister, Gloria, would act out skits. The tradition may have led him into comedy.
Fallon joined SNL himself years later and was soon one of the biggest stars on the show. But making it on the show wasn’t something he always had confidence in. He said when he first performed for Lorne Michaels, in 1997, “I just bombed. I could tell. My manager could tell. This might have been my lowest point ever.” However, it was only a year later that Michaels came to see him again and he gained a lifelong fan.
Taking over The Tonight Show was a big moment for him and he gained a surprise fan in the process.
“Jimmy gets it,” former Tonight Show host, Jay Leno, said. “Jimmy is a comic. He’s not a comedy writer. He worked little crappy clubs, dragging the guitar around and having drunks throw shit at you. And that’s why he and I have a bit of a bond. It’s almost a father-son kind of thing.”
“Most people in show business think they know everything,” Leno added. “They don’t really listen to the other person. They just wait for the other person to stop talking. Respectful is the best word I can use for Jimmy.”
Fallon has also shaken things up since taking over The Tonight Show. Eighteen years before he took over, Johnny Carson banned Joan Rivers — but it was Fallon who ended that ban. He said, “No one’s banned anymore. This is such a silly thing.”