Jimmy Fallon is the hugely talented host of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Fallon can do just about everything – sketches, impressions, playing guitar and singing – you name it, the talk show host has probably done it on his series at some point in time!
However, despite the fact that millions of people tune in to watch Fallon interviewing a host of celebrity guests each week, there are still a couple of things out there about the comedian and entertainer that you might not know about.
22. He used to be a Calvin Klein model
Jimmy Fallon is a man of many talents. He’s a hilarious comedian, excellent impressionist and of course – he plays the guitar. But did you know that Fallon also briefly worked as a model? That’s right – the show host once revealed that he managed to bag a modelling job with none other than Calvin Klein.
While Fallon was performing on Saturday Night Live back in 2001, he managed to attract the attention of fashion industry insiders and was offered the chance to appear in a Calvin Klein aftershave commercial. Fallon featured in a print ad and also appeared on a series of free postcards.
21. He completely blew the chance to date Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman
Fallon is a good-looking guy with plenty of talent, so it’s little wonder that he’s attracted some admirers over the years. And someone with a huge Fallon crush from back in the day turned out to be none other than Aussie actress Nicole Kidman! In fact, Fallon actually blew the chance to date Kidman and she’s never let him forget about it… Apparently a mutual friend of both Fallon and Kidman thought they would be perfect for each other and tried to set the pair of them up on a date together.
Kidman actually went over to Fallon’s apartment when he was still a young comedian but things didn’t go quite how she expected. Fallon played it way too cool and stayed fairly quiet, even putting a video game on while she was round at his place! Needless to say he blew it, despite the fact that Kidman was a secret admirer of his. Oh well! Things turned out great for the talk show host anyway. He’s been married to wife Nancy Juvonen since 2007.
20. He took up piano as an adult
They say you can learn piano at any time in your life, but very few people actually put in the hard yards to realise that musical ambition. Fallon can already play guitar, as showcased several times on Saturday Night Live, but it was in 2014 that he committed to adding Beethoven’s instrument to his repertoire.
19. He wanted to become a priest when he was younger
Can you believe it? Jimmy Fallon nearly became a man of the Church. Apparently when he was a lot younger, Fallon expressed a keen interest in becoming a priest and nearly joined a seminary as a result. The comedian grew up in a very strict household and was raised as a Catholic – he even attended a Catholic private school. Fallon has previously recalled attending mass with his grandfather at 06:45 every Sunday morning. Wow! The future late night show host eventually became an altar boy and reportedly loved the feeling he got from being at Church.
This experience made such an impact on Fallon that he nearly gave up all of his comedic and musical interests to become a priest. He especially liked that priests made people feel good after they had finished preaching. Eventually Fallon gave up on this idea after becoming obsessed with watching Saturday Night Live. His impressions and musical talent also started gaining ground and by college he had forgotten all about his previous aspirations to the Church. It’s a shame because we would have definitely enjoyed going to Church a lot more if Fallon was the priest in charge!
18. His high school teacher predicted that he would host the Late Night Show
How creepy is this? Apparently one of his teachers at St. Mary of the Snow school in New York correctly guessed that Fallon would go on to host the Late Night Show in his career. Wow! At the end of his eighth grade yearbook, one of Fallon’s teachers listed her predictions of what would become of each student. And for Fallon, she wrote: “James Fallon will replace David Letterman on the Late Night Show.” Eventually Fallon did take over the Late Night Show from Conan O’Brien, meaning that this prediction did (technically) come true! Lorne Michaels of SNL petitioned NBC to pin down Fallon, despite the fact that he had just starred in a slew of unsuccessful movies.
NBC executives hated the idea but Fallon was announced as Conan’s replacement in May 2008. Since then his career as a talk show host has gone from strength to strength. Before going on to do The Tonight Show, Fallon ended up earning over $13 million a year at Late Night. He has a lot to thank Lorne Michaels for!
17. His talk show is responsible for Lip Sync Battle
Lip Sync Battle is a popular show on the Spike TV network. The series is hosted by rapper LL Cool J, while John Legend’s wife Chrissy Teigen acts as the colour commentator. But did you know that the first ever incarnation of Lip Sync Battle was on Fallon’s late night show? Apparently Stephen Merchant (co-creator of The Office) and John Krasinski (The Office US, A Quiet Place) were brainstorming ideas for Krasinski’s first ever appearance on Fallon.
They came up with the lip sync idea and it debuted on the Tonight Show. Fallon quickly popularised the sketch and adopted it as a regular feature – some of the most popular lip sync battles of all time include Paul Rudd, Emma Stone and Melissa McCarthy. In 2014, Merchant, Fallon and Krasinski successfully pitched the show’s format to Spike and the series quickly became the network’s most popular programme. Nice one! We had no idea that this trio were responsible for Lip Sync Battle.
16. He has a giant pickle hanging up in his office
Yes you did read that correctly! Jimmy Fallon has a giant pickle hanging up on the ceiling of his office. It turns out that the pickle is actually a gift from none other than Conan O’Brien. It’s actually a tradition for each host of the late night talk show to pass the pickle on to the next host. David Letterman handed the pickle to Conan O’Brien, who then passed it down to Fallon.
Fallon later gave the pickle to Seth Meyers, who replaced him on the late night show. We’re not sure if Fallon has any food stuffs hanging from his current office. It seems a shame that Fallon had to give away the pickle because apparently the comedian is a massive fan of fermenting fruits and vegetables at home! Yep, there must be a few pickles at Fallon’s house at least because he has confessed to fermenting his own vegetables in the past.
15. He once appeared in Band of Brothers
Band of Brothers is one of the greatest TV shows ever made. And it’s famous for having featured a whole host of talented actors who were barely known at the time. Michael Fassbender, Tom Hardy, Damian Lewis, James McAvoy and many other famous names all got their start on Band of Brothers. But did you know that Jimmy Fallon also makes one of his first ever acting appearances on the wartime series?! Fallon actually stars on the miniseries as 2nd Lieutenant George Rice.
This is a dramatic and serious role for Fallon, and it’s bizarre to see him behind the wheel of a jeep in the middle of war-torn France. It just goes to show that Fallon has plenty of acting talent – it’s just a shame that he starred in movies such as Taxi and Fever Pitch during his brief switch to full-time acting
14. He had a mole removed from his hand on live TV
Ew! This one is kind of strange… Fallon once appeared on the Dr. Oz show and ended up undergoing a minor surgery as a result of Oz’s recommendations. In 2011, Fallon had a mole removed from his hand after Dr. Oz inspected the mole and recommended that it be surgically spliced by him and his team.
Oz said he couldn’t be sure whether or not it was melanoma. It’s been reported that over 200 audience members watched live as the surgery took place. Better to be safe than sorry, we guess! Fallon took everything in his stride. Luckily nothing more happened with the mole – we’re sure Fallon gets them checked regularly now though!
13. He’s a college dropout
Despite all of his success, Fallon never actually graduated from college. Although he attended Albany’s College of Saint Rose for a few years, Fallon never actually earned his degree. Why? He dropped out when he was only 15 credits away from graduating. Fallon decided to focus on his burgeoning career instead, and although we wouldn’t recommend this to everyone, the move definitely worked out for Fallon.
He was majoring in computer science at the time, so we’re fairly sure he didn’t regret finishing his studies to become a stand-up comedian. In 2009, his old college decided to honour him anyway and he received a bachelor’s degree in communications, as well as an honorary doctorate of humane letters. Of course, the charismatic talk show host also served as the ceremony’s keynote speaker.
12. It was his childhood dream to star on Saturday Night Live
Fallon came to everybody’s attention thanks to his hilarious performances on SNL. And while we’re sure a lot of comedians say it was their dream to work on Saturday Night Live – for Fallon this was the moment he had been savouring since he was a young kid. His parents were strict Catholics, so young Fallon was only allowed to watch the ‘clean’ sketches – but after he and his sister would act out the scenes in front of the whole family.
Fallon has previously spoken at length about how happy he was when his SNL audition became a success. We’re just thankful that Fallon did get the job on the comedy show – apparently he was so obsessed with the programme that he threatened to kill himself if he didn’t get a role on SNL by the age of 25. Fortunately he joined the show when he was 24 years old.
11. His first audition for Saturday Night Live was completely rejected
With that in mind, you can imagine just how disappointed Fallon was when he got rejected by SNL the first time around. That’s right – Fallon didn’t get into the programme on his first audition. He performed for the casting directors in 1997 but they eventually decided not to add him to the cast. Instead Fallon joined a pilot presentation for the WB channel. However, Fallon was still fixated on SNL and had a clause written into his contract that if the actor was accepted for Saturday Night Live that he would be allowed to go and join.
Fortunately that’s exactly what happened! Fallon got a second chance at an audition in 1998 at the age of 23 years old… and the network loved his used of blackface. In fact, SNL producer Lorne Michaels couldn’t help laughing at Fallon’s performance.
10. He used to be a member of the Groundlings
Before getting his big break on SNL, Fallon made sure to perfect his craft. He became a member of the legendary Groundlings troupe and stayed with the comedy improv society for over two years. The Groundlings have a notorious list of alumni, including Will Ferrell, Jon Lovitz and Lisa Kudrow. It’s safe to say that at this point in Fallon’s career, he was determined to make it big in the world of entertainment, and literally nothing would stop him from achieving his SNL dream.
The show host has since reflected on this time and wondered at how ‘crazy’ he actually got: “This was my ultimate goal. If I ever cut into a birthday cake and made a wish, I would wish to be on SNL. If I threw a coin into a fountain, I would wish to be on SNL. If I saw a shooting star, I would wish to be on SNL. […] I remember saying to myself, ‘If I don’t make it on [the show] before I’m 25, I’m going to kill myself.’ It’s crazy. I had no other plan. I didn’t have friends, I didn’t have a girlfriend, I didn’t have anything going on. I had my career, that was it.”
9. His favourite ever sketch was with Mick Jagger
Fallon has done a lot of sketches over the years. But he once admitted that his favourite ever bit was with the legendary Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger. Fallon actually performed the bit early on in his career, when he was still a member of Saturday Night Live. Fallon was pretending to be Mick Jagger in front of a dressing room mirror, practicing faces and talking to himself.
Of course, the real Jagger was sat opposite him trying to mimic all of Fallon’s actions! It seems as though the pair must have really hit it off during their time on the show, because Fallon can often be seen attending sporting events with Jagger and his family. We have to admit that we’re just a little bit jealous!
8. His SNL cast mates invented a game called “Jimmy Falloning”
There’s always one actor who struggles to keep a straight face… And on SNL that person was Jimmy Fallon. His fellow cast members noticed that the show host just couldn’t seem to keep it together sometimes, especially during the funnier sketches. This created an interesting dynamic within the group… Some of his cast mates thought that Fallon was doing it on purpose to try and draw attention to himself, because a lot of the SNL fans enjoyed seeing Fallon crack up.
However, some of his fellow cast mates took it as a personal challenge and tried to make Fallon laugh as much as possible during a sketch. It turned into a whole game and eventually any future cast members would be initiated in the ways of ‘Jimmy Falloning.’ He definitely does like to laugh!
7. He was once voted one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World
We can definitely get on board with this one… Fallon was (and still is!) one good-looking guy back in the day, and this didn’t escape the attention of the US media. In fact, People magazine once voted Fallon one of their 50 Most Beautiful People! That’s right, back in 2002 Fallon featured alongside a whole host of top models and actors in the infamous People magazine classification.
Fallon has since said that he found the award “embarrassing”. Awww! One of the reasons why Fallon has been so popular amongst US audiences is his charm and charisma, so we’re fairly sure his good looks don’t hurt either. We bet he was secretly proud of the People magazine award anyway…
6. He’s a Grammy winner
Jimmy Fallon is definitely a talented musician. He can do amazing impressions of some of the greatest musical acts out there, including Bob Dylan and Neil Young, and he plays the guitar himself extremely well! But did you know that he once scooped a Grammy Award? Fallon was awarded a 2012 Grammy for Best Comedy Album with the release of Blow Your Pants Off. Nice! And it’s not just the world of music that Fallon has broken into.
He’s also a budding author and has written several books to date. His first publication came in 1999, when he wrote I Hate This Place: The Pessimist’s Guide to Life with his sister Gloria. Since then, the show host has gone on to write five more books, with the most recent publication coming in 2017 entitled Everything Is Mama.
5. He had to keep his Tonight Show gig a secret from his own parents
When Fallon was awarded The Tonight Show, we’re sure he wanted to go out and celebrate. He was following in the footsteps of comedy greats such as Johnny Carson, so we’re guessing that he was pretty thrilled to have been offered the gig. However, the whole thing had to be kept in absolute secrecy until the show executives made a public announcement. This meant that Fallon had to keep the news a secret, even from his own family. In fact, he didn’t tell his parents about the job until the night before Tonight Show executives announced the news.
Luckily for Fallon, the show’s producers also decided to move the series back to New York (aka Fallon’s home) for the first time since 1972. Apparently executives were taking advantage of a nice little tax break from the state of New York, but still – at least he got to remain near his family! The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon is currently filmed at Studio 6B, Rockefeller Center.
4. Ben and Jerry’s released an ice-cream in his honour
People were definitely excited when Fallon was announced as the new host. But a certain ice-cream company up in Vermont really pulled out the big guns to celebrate Fallon’s new hosting gig. In fact, they introduced a brand new ice-cream especially devoted to the new Tonight Show presenter. They made a special edition ice-cream entitled “The Tonight Dough Starring Jimmy Fallon.” As you can see from the label, it featured a lot of ingredients that aren’t particularly good for you.
Its flavours included chocolate and caramel ice cream with gobs of chocolate chip and peanut butter cookie dough. Yummy! Fallon himself was seen eating the sweet snack on his TV show – which is great advertising for Ben & Jerry’s. After making the move to the Tonight Show, Fallon stayed loyal to all of the cast and crew from Late Night, making sure to bring every last one of them to his new gig. Fallon later remarked: “In our heads, we’ve been doing The Tonight Show for five years. We’re just on at a later hour.”
3. There was controversy surrounding one of his first ever Tonight Show guests
So who kicked off the new hosting gig? Fallon had a number of big names on his first ever Tonight Show appearance, including Irish rockers U2 and actor Will Smith. But there was some controversy surrounding one of the guests who came to visit Fallon in the studio. Comedian Joan Rivers was also a guest on the show, which was highly unusual considering her very public falling-out with long-time host Johnny Carson.
Rivers had refused to appear on the show since their spat, meaning that her appearance opposite Fallon was the first time she had been on the Tonight Show since 1986. Wow! That’s a nice bit of drama to kick off Fallon’s first ever appearance on the show. Still, things went very smoothly for him and audiences loved what they were seeing.
2. He plays squash with Mario Batali
Fallon has quite a few celebrity friends… He’s good pals with Justin Timberlake and boasts excellent relationships with some of the biggest names in Hollywood. But one of his closest friends is none other than celebrity chef Mario Batali! Apparently Batali and Fallon enjoy playing squash together and regularly get out on the court to try and best each other. However, Fallon has admitted that Batali nearly always wins.
The pair have been close for a good while now and the chef often pops up on the Tonight Show to cook Fallon and his guests a nice meal or two. Yum! Things don’t always go to plan though. In one 2016 episode, Batali ended up pouring wine all over his squash buddy. Oops! They were supposed to be wine tasting when things got out of hand. It doesn’t seem to have jeopardised the friendship though..these two are BFF.
1. He has a Golden Retriever named Gary Frick
And last but not least, did you know that Fallon has a cute Golden Retriever puppy? The dog sometimes made an appearance on his Late Night show, much to everybody’s delight. For some reason Fallon decided to name his pooch Gary Frick.
A fact which is made all the strange when you consider that Gary Frick is actually a girl! We wish he would bring the little pup onto his shows more often…