Saturday Night Live alum Jimmy Fallon is suiting up for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and this time, he’s not wearing a clip-on tie! Fallon gives us the inside scope on taking over for Conan O’Brien.
Ladies and gentlemen… Jimmy Fallon
“On Weekend Update, I had the same tie I’ve had since confirmation,” Fallon admits to SheKnows and laughs.
“But yes, I’m wearing the suit and tie, pretty traditional. I know what it’s like to be on the other side of a talk show: Sometimes as a celebrity, you come on the show and you have a terrible
story and nothing to talk about. It’s up to the host to make you look good. That’s my goal.”
His goal is also to be funny, of course. “I think it’s going to be a lot of trial-and-error,” he confides.
“What’s fun about 12:30 is that you should be looser, try more stuff and be more adventurous in your comedy. We’ll try stuff that just hangs. If it’s not funny, we’ll try it again. If that’s not
funny, we’ll do it one more time!”
As soon as he goes live with Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Fallon has opened himself up to the unavoidable criticism. “And as far as reviews go, I’m looking forward to it,” he continues.
“Everyone’s been destroyed by critics in the past, shouldn’t be any different for me!”
Gauging the competition
While Fallon is prepared for the learning curve, much of the talk these days asks three questions:
A) How will Fallon handle going up against Craig Ferguson?
B) Will viewers really keep watching when it all starts so early with Jay Leno’s new show?
C) With all those talk shows, will there be enough guests to go around?
“We’ll book guests,” Fallon promises. “I hear we got the ShamWow guy.”
That’s good. Joking aside, it is looking good so far: Fallon has landed the likes of Robert DeNiro, Justin Timberlake & Van Morrison for his premiere, with Jon Bon Jovi, Ludacris, Drew
Barrymore and Gossip Girl’s Chace Crawford among those scheduled to visit that week.
Fallon admits he has given the issue serious consideration.
“I’m up against a
really classy guy,” he demurs of Ferguson. “In fact, I sent him a gift basket with a collection of Sean Connery movies; and some Jagermeister for his writers. He’s a great guy.
“I’m looking at it as: my only competition is sleep,” he continues.
“Seriously, people are falling asleep at 12:30, as they should. It’s about keeping people awake and interested till 1:30, and I’m going to try my best to do that. We’re going to get good bands and
we have a great crew of writers. Some guys are from The Onion; some from National Lampoon.”
The road to late night
Some were surprised to hear the Saturday Night Live alum had been tapped to take over Conan’s show, but Fallon reveals Late
Night with Jimmy Fallon was always his destiny. “It was my 8th grade yearbook,” he says.
graduating grade school and they predicted James Fallon would most likely replace David Letterman
(who preceded Conan as the Late Night host). That kind of always stuck in my head. I realized later my principal is Nostradamus, and then it all kind of made sense.”
His boss as SNL, star-maker Lorne Michaels, also had big aspirations for Fallon.
“When I was leaving, Lorne said, ‘Keep in mind, we’re going to look for a replacement for Conan when he leaves. Just keep that in the back of your head.'” Fallon recalls. “I said, ‘Great!'”
Now that Fallon is back doing live comedy at 11:30 at night, however, don’t expect to see “not ready for primetime” SNL characters like abusive techy Nick, stoner webcam host Jarret or
obnoxious Boston teen Sully. They’re Fallon’s past.
“I love Lorne Michaels, and I love NBC,”
“I always wanted to be on Saturday Night Live, and I did that, and it was great. I had a great time there and I left at the perfect time. I didn’t have any fights or leave because I hated
anything. It was just my contract was up, and I wanted to get out. Being a fan of Saturday Night Live, I like it when cast members
leave, as opposed to stay around too long, because I think that’s what keeps the show fresh.”
Of course, Michaels may lure him back to host an episode or two and fans remain hopeful that Timberlake can inspire at least another cameo return for their hysterical sketch, The Barry
Gibb Talk Show.