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Jimmy Fallon

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Jimmy Fallon
Jimmy Fallon, Montclair Film Festival, 2013.jpg
Fallon at the Montclair Film Festival in 2013
Birth name James Thomas Fallon
Born (1974-09-19) September 19, 1974 (age 40)
Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Medium Stand-up, television, film, music
Years active 1998–present
Genres Sketch comedy, observational comedy, musical comedy, political satire, social satire
Spouse Nancy Juvonen (m. 2007)
Children 2
Notable works and roles Saturday Night Live
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
Emmy Awards
Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media – Nonfiction
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (2009–10)
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
Saturday Night Live (2012 & 2014)
Outstanding Interactive Program
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (2014)
Grammy Awards
Best Comedy Album
Blow Your Pants Off (2013)

James Thomas "Jimmy" Fallon (born September 19, 1974) is an American comedian, television host, actor, musician, writer, and producer. He is known for his work in television as a cast member on Saturday Night Live and as the host of late-night talk show The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Born in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and raised in Saugerties, New York, Fallon's upbringing was idyllic. He grew up with an interest in comedy and music, moving to Los Angeles at 21 to pursue stand-up opportunities.

He was commissioned to join NBC's Saturday Night Live as a cast member in 1998, fulfilling a lifelong dream. Fallon remained on SNL for six years between 1998 and 2004, co-hosting the program's Weekend Update sketch and becoming a celebrity in the process. He left the program for the film industry, starring in films such as Taxi (2004) and Fever Pitch (2005), which were mostly unsuccessful. Following his film career, Fallon returned to television as the host of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on NBC in 2009, where he became well known for his emphasis on music and games. He transitioned from that program to become the sixth host of the long-running The Tonight Show in 2014.

In addition to his television work, Fallon has released two comedy albums and several books.

Life and career[edit]

Early life[edit]

Jimmy Fallon was born in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York, and is the son of Gloria (née Feeley) and James W. Fallon.[1][2][3] Fallon's ancestry is five-eighths Irish, a quarter German, and one-eighth Norwegian; his paternal grandmother, Luise Schalla, was from Osterholz-Scharmbeck, Lower Saxony, Germany, while one of his maternal great-grandfathers, Hans Hovelsen, was an immigrant from Fredrikstad, Norway.[4][5]

A Vietnam War veteran,[6] his father spent his adolescence singing in street-corner doo-wop groups, and shortly after his son's birth, was working as a machine repairman for IBM in Kingston, New York.[7] In preparation, the family relocated nearby to Saugerties, New York. Fallon has described his childhood as "idyllic,"[8] while his parents have been noted as overprotective. He and his sister, Gloria, were unable to leave their home,[9] and they had to ride their bicycles in the backyard.[10]

Fallon attended St. Mary of the Snow, a Roman Catholic elementary school in Saugerties. He considered being a priest, inspired by his experiences as an altar boy.[10] He became more interested in comedy instead. He spent many nights recording the radio program The Dr. Demento Show on a reel-to-reel recorder, where he was exposed to both comedy and music.[8] Fallon developed an obsession with the late-night comedy program Saturday Night Live (SNL) as a teenager, watching it religiously.[11] He grew up watching the show, viewing "the clean parts" that his parents taped for him. He and Gloria would re-enact sketches like "The Festrunk Brothers" with friends.[11] Fallon was such a fan that he made a weekly event of watching the show in his dormitory during college.

In his teens, he impressed his parents with different impersonations, including actor James Cagney[12][13] and comedian Dana Carvey.[14] He was also musically inclined, and started playing guitar at age thirteen. He would go on to perform comedy and music in contests and shows.[13] By his junior high years, he was labeled a class clown, to his teachers' disdain, but also described as generally "nice and well-mannered."[15] At Saugerties High School, from which he graduated in 1992, he was a performer in most stage productions, and was twice a class social director.[15] He won a young comedian's contest with an impression of Pee-wee Herman.[11] He then attended The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York, where he was first a Computer Science major, later switching to Communications in his senior year. He was an average student, often taking stand-up gigs on the weekends.[8] Fallon would often board buses from his aunt's in Fort Hamilton to Caroline's comedy club in Times Square to perform sets.[16]

Comedy beginnings[edit]

Fallon dropped out of The College of Saint Rose a semester shy of a degree to move to Los Angeles to pursue comedy full-time.[17] He secured a manager and got bookings by the age of 21.[18] He often did stand-up at the Improv, earning $7.50 per set,[6] and he joined classes with the Groundlings, an improv comedy troupe.[15] Fallon appeared in the feature film The Scheme (originally entitled The Entrepreneurs). His one line in Father's Day was cut but he can still be seen in the background. In 1998, Fallon appeared briefly on the show Spin City in the second season as a man selling photographs.

He remained fixated on joining Saturday Night Live. After two years of working with the Groundlings,[19] he auditioned for the program in 1997, but was unsuccessful.[15] When he was cast in a pilot presentation for the WB, Fallon made sure to include a clause in his contract specifying that if he were to join SNL he would be released from his contract.[9] His manager sent videotapes to Marci Klein and Ayala Cohen, producers for SNL.[20]

Fallon landed his second audition at the age of 23. At the "notoriously difficult audition,"[21] he was told by multiple individuals that creator Lorne Michaels almost never emitted laughter during auditions. Although he initially feared the comic before him, armed with an arsenal of props, would outshine him, Fallon went onstage and did well.[20] He showcased his impressions with a celebrity walk-a-thon, including impressions of Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Bill Cosby, and Adam Sandler, an SNL alumnus who had recently left the show.[22] The latter received laughter from the room, including Michaels.[23] Head writer Tina Fey, who was in the room, later said "He's one of two people I’ve ever seen who was completely ready to be on the show. Kristen Wiig is the other one... And Jimmy was ready—like, if there had been a show to do that night."[21] He rushed through his original characters in order to arrive at his musical impressions, which he felt was stronger. Three weeks passed, and despite his feeling that he had not gotten the position, he was asked to meet with Michaels at the Paramount lot in Los Angeles. Michaels informed him that they wanted him for the show, and Fallon characterized the moment as being in "slow motion," remarking to Michaels before he left, "I'm going to make you proud."[20]

Saturday Night Live years (1998–2004)[edit]

Early seasons (1998–2000)[edit]

Fallon debuted on Saturday Night Live as a featured player at the beginning of the show's twenty-fourth season in September 1998.[24] He became a star by his fourth episode, when he performed Halloween-themed versions of songs by popular artists, as well as his Sandler impression.[9] His sudden popularity made Fallon a celebrity, where he was considered both charming and a sex symbol.[15] Fallon possessed a strong female fan-base, receiving numerous letters from fans and becoming the subject of numerous fan-sites.[6] He became the program's most featured mimic, with popular impressions of Robert De Niro, Jerry Seinfeld, and Howard Stern. In addition, he also starred as many original characters, including Nick Burns, a IT Support nerd, and in Jerrett's Room, a fictional webcast hosted by stoner college students Jerrett (Fallon) and Gobi (Horatio Sanz).

He was promoted to repertory player in his second season.[6] In his off time, Fallon released a book comprising e-mail exchanges with his sister, titled I Hate This Place: A Pessimist's Guide to Life (1999), and filmed a minor role for the film Almost Famous (2000).[6] During their time at SNL, Fallon and fellow cast member Horatio Sanz often partied. These experiences were an extension of their desires to emulate the SNL stars before them, including John Belushi, Adam Sandler, and Chris Farley. Sanz has described he and Fallon as "super-functioning alcoholics," often spotted at Siberia, an underground dive bar in the 50th Street subway station, or Niagara in the East Village.[16] For example, on one occasion, they spent a Friday night watching the Strokes perform a midnight show, staying up until the early morning drinking, despite having to do SNL that night.[25] "We actually took what we thought being on SNL was, what people think is awesome about it, and we made it happen," said Sanz,[25] who noted that he and Fallon got in more than a few bar fights.[16]

Later years (2001–04)[edit]

Fallon initially envisioned he would spend three years at SNL, like Belushi, but he was persuaded to stay on for an additional three when given the reins to Weekend Update (which he would co-host with writer Tina Fey).[16][26] His co-hosting of Weekend Update increased his profile even more.[10] Tabloids often linked him to actresses Winona Ryder and Gina Gershon.[10] During this tenure, he formed a close relationship with Michaels, whom he'd consult with on anything from dating to career advice.[21] Fallon called a December 2001 sketch in which he imitates Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger in a mirror opposite Jagger his favorite thing he had done up to that point.[10] In his later years on SNL, Fallon co-starred in skit titled The Barry Gibb Talk Show alongside musician Justin Timberlake, where the duo portrayed Bee Gees brothers Barry and Robin Gibb. It marked the beginning of a long-running friendship and collaboration with Timberlake.[27]

Fallon became well known for his tendency to break character in sketches, an attribute he himself, as well Michaels, disliked.[28] It began in the infamous "More cowbell" sketch, when Will Ferrell wore a tighter shirt than expected, causing Fallon to crack up. Following this, other cast members would intentionally try to get Fallon to break.[9] For example, Ferrell did this by squeezing his leg underneath the water in a hot tub sketch.[9] Critics derided this tendency as an example of a secretly smug persona, or how unprofessional he was.[29] Other cast members believed he was attempting to steal the moment, to make the sketch about himself. The joke became near-constant during Fallon's final year on the show.[9] During this time, Fallon parlayed his SNL success into co-hosting the 2001 MTV Movie Awards[30] and 2002 MTV Video Music Awards,[31] and the recording on his debut comedy album, The Bathroom Wall (2002), which was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album. He also modeled for Calvin Klein.[19] Fallon was named one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in 2002, an honor Fallon found embarrassing.[32]

Movie career (2004–08)[edit]

Fallon in 2007.

Fallon began to pursue a movie career beginning in 2004. He had spurned most major roles due to lack of time and disinterest in the dozens of scripts he read.[15] He signed on for his first lead role in Taxi, a remake of a French film. Fallon had read the script in the prior years but became more interested when co-star Queen Latifah became attached to the project. He was also attracted to the film's action comedy tone, seeing comparisons with SNL alumnus Eddie Murphy's first big film, 48 Hrs. (1982).[33] He split his time in the fall of 2003 between shooting the film in Los Angeles and returning to New York for SNL.[15] Due to these conflicts (and his contract ending), his sixth season at SNL was his final, with Fallon signing off at the conclusion of the show's twenty-ninth season in May 2004.[34]

With big expectations from the studio, Taxi premiered in the fall of 2004 and was a flop with critics and audiences, resulting in Fallon's first failure.[9] 20th Century Fox had already signed him on for his second major role, starring opposite Drew Barrymore 2005's romantic comedy Fever Pitch, before Taxi was unsuccessful.[15] Fever Pitch did not do much better, receiving mild reviews and tepid box office returns.[35] He met his wife, producer Nancy Juvonen, during production of the film and the two wed in December 2007. Film offers decreased, with his two chances for major films both considered failures. Subsequently, Fallon went through what he has deemed a "lost period," characterized by a larger-than-usual alcohol consumption and confusion over his next career moves.[8] He wrote a screenplay during this time "about a guy in a goth band who has to pretend to be a country-music star."[9] Following his failure in film, Fallon moved back East to New York, spending "a couple of years aimlessly knocking around."[16]

Prior to leaving SNL, Michaels had mentioned to Fallon that he would be a good fit to take over NBC's Late Night franchise when then-host Conan O'Brien would depart the show to host the long-running Tonight Show in the future. Michaels urged NBC to give Fallon a holding deal in February 2007 so that he couldn't be lured elsewhere.[35] To prepare for the role of a late-night host, Fallon toured college campuses and comedy clubs for eight months, where he tested out a new, 50-minute routine.[36] He also began watching the comedy of Chevy Chase, Dick Cavett, and Johnny Carson, as well as The Larry Sanders Show.[9] In May 2008, Fallon was announced as the successor to O'Brien's Late Night.[37][38][39] Fallon was considered an odd choice for the job, both by executives at NBC (who "hated" the idea and predicted it to be a failure), and among the general public.[28] This was referenced in an early promo for the series: "You loved him on SNL! You hated him in the movies! Now you're ambivalent."[28][29]

Back to television and Late Night (2009–13)[edit]

Fallon interviewing President Barack Obama on the campus of UNC at Chapel Hill in April 2012.

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon premiered in March 2009 to mixed reviews. In discovering the show's style, it took much less time than his predecessor. Producer Michael Shoemaker felt that it solidified when the show used Susan Boyle as a joke. While other late-night programs had centered on her appearance, Fallon's Late Night debuted a sketch in which Boyle's emotional performances could "salve any affliction."[29] It was this style of humor, that Adam Sternbergh of New York dubbed "the comedy of unabashed celebration,"[29] that led to the program's success.

Fallon proved himself different than other late-night hosts, with more of a reliance on music, dancing, impersonations, and games.[9] Between Fallon's own musical sensibilities and the recruitment of his house band, hip-hop collective The Roots, his incarnation of Late Night "evolved into the most deeply musical of TV’s musical-comedy variety programs", with sketches in which he parodies Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen going viral online.[8] Coincidentally, it was during the Tonight Show debacle that Fallon's show found its footing.[8] Another component built into the program was its association with social media and the Internet. The first majorly successful online clip was of Fallon and Justin Timberlake performing a "History of Rap".[29] Online interaction and its presence on the show soon became crucial to its success.[40] As of August 2013, Fallon was earning a salary of $11 million a year for his work on Late Night.[41]

Fallon also hosted the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards in 2010.[42][43] In 2012, Fallon released his second comedy album, Blow Your Pants Off, which compiles many of his musical performances on Late Night.[44] The album won a Grammy in 2013 for Best Comedy Album.[45] Discussions for Fallon to take over The Tonight Show began in early 2013.[46]

The Tonight Show (2014–present)[edit]

Fallon on his premiere episode of The Tonight Show

On April 3, 2013, following a period of speculation, NBC officially announced that Fallon would succeed Jay Leno to become the sixth permanent host of The Tonight Show following the 2014 Winter Olympics.[47][48] Jimmy Fallon's "Tonight Show" debut on February 17, 2014 on NBC's network engaged 11.3 million viewers, making it the most-viewed late night show in the past few years.

Personal life[edit]

Fallon married film producer Nancy Juvonen, co-owner of production company Flower Films, on December 22, 2007.[49] They have two daughters, one born in 2013, the other born in 2014; both were born via gestational surrogacy.[50][51][52]

Fallon is Catholic and, when he was a child, wanted to eventually become a priest.[53] He has a female English cream Golden Retriever dog named Gary Frick that has appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.[54][55][56]

On February 22, 2011, Fallon was on The Dr. Oz Show and had a mole removed from his left hand in front of a live studio audience by cosmetic surgeon Arthur Perry.[57][58]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2000 Almost Famous Dennis Hope
2002 The Rutles 2: Can't Buy Me Lunch Reporter
2003 Anything Else Bob
2003 The Entrepreneurs Ray Filmed in 1998 but released in 2003
2004 Taxi Det. Andrew "Andy" Washburn
2005 Fever Pitch Ben Wrightman
2006 Doogal Dylan Voice role
2006 Arthur and the Invisibles Prince Betameche Voice role
2006 Factory Girl Chuck Wein
2008 The Year of Getting to Know Us Christopher Rocket
2009 Whip It Johnny Rocket
2009 Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard Prince Betameche Voice role
2010 Arthur 3: The War of the Two Worlds Prince Betameche Voice role
2011 Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star Himself Cameo
2015 Jurassic World Himself Cameo

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1998–2004 Saturday Night Live Himself / Various 120 episodes
1998 Spin City Photographer Episode: "The Marrying Men"
2001 Band of Brothers 2nd Lt. George C. Rice Episode: "Crossroads"
2001 2001 MTV Movie Awards Himself / Host Special
2002 2002 MTV Video Music Awards Himself / Host Special
2003 Late Show with David Letterman Guest host One episode[59]
2005 2005 MTV Movie Awards Himself / Host Special
2009, 2012 30 Rock Himself 3 episodes
2009–2014 Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Himself / Host 969 episodes; also writer, executive producer
2009 The Electric Company Himself 8 episodes
2009 Sesame Street Wild Nature Survivor Guy Episode: "Wild Nature Survivor Guy"
2009 Family Guy Himself Episode: "We Love You, Conrad"
2009 Gossip Girl Himself Episode: "The Grandfather: Part II"
2010 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards Himself / Host Special
2010 Delocated Himself Episode: "Kim's Krafts"
2011–2013 Saturday Night Live Himself / Host 2 episodes
2011 Silent Library Himself Episode: "Jimmy Fallon/The Roots"
2012 30 Rock Young Jack Episode: "Live from Studio 6H"
2012 iCarly Himself Episode: "iShock America"
2014–present The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Himself / Host Also writer, executive producer
2015 Louie Himself Episode: "A La Carte"
2015 Lip Sync Battle Himself / Contestant April 2, 2015

Video game[edit]

Year Title Role
2015 Lego Jurassic World Himself

As crew member[edit]

Year Title Notes
2012–2013 Guys with Kids 17 episodes; also creator, writer, executive producer

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

List of studio albums, with selected chart positions
Title Album details Peaks
US
[60]
US
Com.

[61]
The Bathroom Wall 47  —
Blow Your Pants Off 25 1
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Singles[edit]

List of singles, with selected chart positions
Title Year Peaks Album
US
[62]
US
Rap

[63]
"Idiot Boyfriend" 2002  —  — The Bathroom Wall
"Car Wash for Peace"[64] 2007  —  — N/A
"Drunk On Christmas"[65]
(featuring John Rich)
2009  —
"EW!"[66]
(featuring will.i.am)
2014 26 5
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2001 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Personality Saturday Night Live Nominated
2002 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Personality Saturday Night Live Nominated [67]
2003 Grammy Awards Best Comedy Album The Bathroom Wall Nominated [68]
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Personality Saturday Night Live Nominated [69]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Comedian Nominated [69]
2004 Teen Choice Awards Choice Comedian Nominated [70]
2005 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Comedy Actor Fever Pitch Nominated [71]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Hissy Fit Fever Pitch Nominated [71]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Lip-lock Fever Pitch Nominated [71]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Chemistry Fever Pitch Nominated [71]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Rockstar Moment Taxi Nominated [71]
2009 Webby Awards Lifetime Achievement Award Won [72]
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Late Night Show Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Nominated [73]
Emmy Awards Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media – Nonfiction Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Won [74]
2010 Teen Choice Awards Choice Comedian Nominated [75]
Emmy Awards Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media – Nonfiction Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Won [76]
2011 People's Choice Awards Favorite Online Sensation Won [77]
The Comedy Awards Late Night Comedy Series Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Nominated [78]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Comedian Nominated [79]
Emmy Awards Outstanding Variety Series Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Nominated [80]
Emmy Awards Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Nominated [80]
Emmy Awards Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series Late Night With Jimmy Fallon Nominated [80]
2012 People's Choice Awards Favorite Late Night TV Host Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Won [81]
Writers Guild of America Comedy/Variety (including talk) series Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Nominated [82]
The Comedy Awards Late Night Comedy Series Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Nominated [83]
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Talk Show Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Won [84]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Comedian Nominated [85]
Emmy Awards Outstanding Variety Series Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Nominated [86]
Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series Saturday Night Live Won [86]
2013 People's Choice Awards Favorite Late Night TV Host Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Won [87]
Grammy Awards Best Comedy Album Blow Your Pants Off Won [88]
Producers Guild of America Awards Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment & Talk Television Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Nominated [89]
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Talk Show Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Nominated [90]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Comedian Nominated [91]
Emmy Awards Outstanding Variety Series Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Nominated [92]
2014 People's Choice Awards Favorite Late Night TV Host Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Nominated [93]
Producers Guild of America Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment & Talk Television Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Nominated [94]
American Comedy Awards Best Late Night Talk Show Late Night with Jimmy Fallon! Nominated [95]
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Talk Show The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Won [96]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Comedian Nominated [97]
Emmy Awards Outstanding Variety Series The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Nominated [98]
Emmy Awards Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Nominated [98]
Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series Saturday Night Live Won [98]
Emmy Awards Outstanding Variety Special Best Of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Primetime Special Nominated [98]
Emmy Awards Outstanding Interactive Program The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Won [98]
2015 People's Choice Awards Favorite Late Night TV Host The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Won [99]
Producers Guild of America Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment & Talk Television The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Won [100]
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Talk Show The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Nominated [101]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ Who's who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. Retrieved April 16, 2013. 
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  4. ^ Oh, Eunice; Zhou, Momo (August 24, 2010). "Jimmy Fallon's GTJ Emmy Prep: Gym, Tan, Jokes". People. Retrieved August 23, 2013. 
  5. ^ Smolenyak, Megan (1903-09-05). "Jimmy Fallon Family Tree". Irish America. Retrieved 2014-08-01. 
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