James Thomas "Jimmy" Fallon (born September 19, 1974) is an American television host, comedian, actor, singer, writer, and producer. He currently hosts The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, a late-night talk show that airs on NBC. Prior to that, he appeared in several films, and was best known as a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1998 to 2004, and the host of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon from 2009 to 2014. On April 3, 2013, NBC announced that Fallon would replace Jay Leno as host of The Tonight Show at the conclusion of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Fallon said it will be "the same show" as Late Night: "I'm not going to change anything. It's more eyeballs watching, but it's the same show."
Fallon was born in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York, and is the son of Gloria (née Feeley) and James W. Fallon, who is a Vietnam War veteran. His family settled in Saugerties, New York, while his father worked at IBM, in nearby Kingston, New York. His ancestry is five-eighths Irish, two-eighths 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 emigrant from Fredrikstad, Norway.
As a child, he and his older sister, Gloria, would reenact the "clean parts" of Saturday Night Live that his parents had taped for him. 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, the first being of James Cagney (he would later move into Cagney's building). He also imitated Dana Carvey. 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.
Fallon attended St. Mary of the Snow, a Roman Catholic elementary school in Saugerties, and later graduated from Saugerties High School in 1992. He then attended The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York. He was a Computer Science major, but switched to Communications in his senior year, dropping out a semester shy of a degree. "I was a Computer Science major. I got out once it got really hard. I made it up to C++. Then I couldn't do the math – it got really confusing. I switched to Communications, which is a ridiculous major – let's be honest," he recalls. On May 9, 2009, Fallon received a B.A. in Communications and an honorary degree from The College of Saint Rose after presenting college officials with his portfolio which satisfied all requisites for his degree. Fallon spoke at the school's 86th commencement. That night, he held up his diploma during the closing of Saturday Night Live.
Fallon gives credit to troll dolls for his big break. He was given a "troll doll" with a graduation cap in his senior year of high school. His mother heard about an impression contest at Bananas Comedy Club in Poughkeepsie, New York. Fallon came up with a stand-up routine that was a commercial for troll dolls. He would impersonate various celebrities auditioning to be the spokesperson. He won the contest and after college he began to do stand-up tours. When he was in Los Angeles, he took improv classes with The Groundlings.
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. By late 1998, Fallon was studying at the Groundlings Theater in Los Angeles, making $7.50 a set at The Improv Theater, when he was summoned to New York to audition for the long-running late night sketch comedy show, Saturday Night Live. Fallon did his impersonations of Jerry Seinfeld, French Stewart, Pat O'Brien, Chris Rock, Hilary Swank, Gilbert Gottfried, Enrique Iglesias, Keanu Reeves, Dennis Miller, Adam Sandler, Jeff Foxworthy, Eddie Murphy, and Larry the Cable Guy. Fallon also did musical impersonations of Bono of U2, Adam Duritz of Counting Crows, Alanis Morissette, and Robert Smith of The Cure.
Fallon's impersonations helped land him on Saturday Night Live as a featured player in the 1998–1999 season, and he was promoted to full cast member in the summer of 1999. Among his signature bits were his song parodies, which he performed when Colin Quinn was doing Update and continued to showcase on special occasions after he had replaced him. He became co-anchor of Weekend Update with Tina Fey with the October 7, 2000, season premiere. Fallon left SNL in 2004 and began pursuing a film career.
Fallon returned to SNL, hosting the December 17, 2011, episode, having made several cameos in episodes in the years following his departure. His performance hosting SNL earned him a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.
Fallon succeeded fellow SNL alumnus Conan O'Brien as the host of NBC's Late Night after O'Brien left the show to prepare to take over The Tonight Show from Jay Leno in 2009. The deal for the long-expected succession was confirmed April 24, 2008, with an official announcement made on May 12, 2008, at NBC's upfront presentation. The official press conference was released on Hulu.com.
The show, titled Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, first aired on March 2, 2009, with guests Robert De Niro, Justin Timberlake, Nick Carter, and musical guest Van Morrison. Guests on the show's first week included Tina Fey, Jon Bon Jovi, Cameron Diaz, Donald Trump, and Drew Barrymore.
Late Night sometimes features parodies by Fallon impersonating various musicians, and he has been praised for his ability to pull off spot-on impressions. Fallon often changes the lyrics to honor a recent event in popular culture and videos of these performances tend to go viral. In one segment, on May 26, 2011, Fallon impersonated Neil Young, singing along with guests Graham Nash and David Crosby, of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Recent parodies include Fallon impersonating Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam performing "Jeremy (Lin)" in light of the hysteria surrounding New York Knicks shocking standout Jeremy Lin, the Doors singing the theme song to the PBS children's show Reading Rainbow, Neil Young's version of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song, and David Bowie's "Space Oddity" with inspiration by Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. First appearing in January 2012, and dubbing himself as "Tebowie", Fallon's impersonation of the famously-religious quarterback went viral. Due to overwhelmingly positive acclaim from the public, Fallon revived the act on March 20, 2012, after the Denver Broncos acquired superstar quarterback Peyton Manning, and revealed their intentions to trade Tebow. Fallon continues to do impersonations, particularly of famous singers, in some of the show's comedy segments.
To celebrate the second anniversary on March 2, 2011, Ben & Jerry's launched a personalized "Late Night Snack" ice cream. This was immediately parodied on The Colbert Report the next day and the latter's host Stephen Colbert engaged in a brief ice cream personality war with Fallon. Colbert used numerous "fecal matter" jokes to describe the flavor of the ice cream named after Fallon.
On November 21, 2011, U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann, who was active in the Republican presidential primaries at the time, appeared as a guest on Late Night. As she walked onto the set, The Roots played a song by Fishbone, titled "Lyin' Ass Bitch", humming the lyrics. Hours earlier, drummer Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson had sent a tweet about the song choice: "late night walkon song devotees: you love it when we snark: this next one takes the cake. ask around cause i aint tweeting title." After a prominent Democratic Congresswoman complained, Fallon made a general apology by tweet. Fallon began his tweet with the words: "I'm honored that @michelebachmann was on our show yesterday and I'm so sorry about the intro mess." Fallon also used his Twitter account to tease Questlove that he was "grounded".
As of August 2013, Fallon was earning a salary of $11 million a year for his work on Late Night.
In January 2014, Fallon (impersonating singer Bruce Springsteen) performed, along with Springsteen himself, a parody of Springsteen's hit song "Born to Run" which mocked New Jersey governor Chris Christie and his alleged role in the Fort Lee lane closure scandal.
On April 3, 2013, following a period of speculation, NBC officially announced that Fallon would succeed Jay Leno to become the fourth host of The Tonight Show following the 2014 Winter Olympics. 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.
Fallon appeared in Taxi, Anything Else, Almost Famous, Fever Pitch, Band of Brothers, Doogal, Factory Girl and Whip It. He occasionally does stand-up comedy in New York City and has also performed at the House of Blues in Boston, Massachusetts, on occasions.
In 2002, Fallon released the comedy album The Bathroom Wall. In a mixed review, Rolling Stone praised the album's songs, calling the album the "second-best Prince parody ever, after Beck's 'Debra'." However the magazine panned the album's comedy routines, ultimately giving it two-out-of-five stars. The album was nominated for a Grammy in 2003 for Best Spoken Comedy Album. Fallon co-hosted the 2001 MTV Movie Awards with Kirsten Dunst on June 7, 2001. Fallon has played Neo in Sex and the Matrix, a comedic two-in-one parody of Sex and the City and The Matrix. He hosted the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards alone that year. His opening number included parodies of videos by Eminem, Avril Lavigne, Nelly, The White Stripes, Dave Matthews and Enrique Iglesias.
Also in 2002, Fallon appeared in The Rutles 2: Can't Buy Me Lunch as the son of Melvin Hall, and constantly pesters his father, often stealing his mic, claiming that the film is "his documentary."
Fallon also hosted the 2005 MTV Movie Awards and played Anakin Skywalker in a comedic parody of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith's Mustafar scene, in which Anakin and Padme have their last conversation. Fallon was named one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in 2002, an honor Fallon found embarrassing.
Following the Boston Red Sox's World Series clinching game over the St. Louis Cardinals in 2004, Fallon ran onto the field at Busch Stadium with Drew Barrymore to film a scene for their film Fever Pitch.
In 2006, Fallon starred in "Spontaneous Combustion", a Traktor-directed Pepsi television commercial with actress Parker Posey. In the ad, Fallon and Posey can be seen dancing and jumping around to the song Streamline by Newton. In October of that year, Fallon appeared on stage in The Secret Policeman's Ball, a charity gig filmed to raise awareness of Amnesty International at the Royal Albert Hall. Fallon made three appearances during the show, the first in a sketch in which he performed impressions of people such as David Bowie, Jerry Seinfeld and David Blaine in order to get past a doorman (Shaun Williamson) who claims Fallon is not on the list. The doorman finally recognizes him for his role in Taxi, but still will not let him in. He later masqueraded as Russell Brand before being led off by Williamson, and made one final appearance in a cameo role as the front of a pantomime horse in the Al Murray "pub landlord" routine. He also provided the voice of Dylan in Doogal.
In 2007, Fallon wrote the song "Car Wash for Peace" and donated all proceeds to charity. He performed the song on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The View and dedicated a MySpace page to the cause. Around the same time, a video circulated on various Internet sites called lonelyfallon32, in which Fallon parodied YouTube celebrity Jessica Rose (a.k.a. lonelygirl15) and later performed the song.
Fallon, along with his sister Gloria, wrote I Hate This Place: The Pessimist's Guide to Life for TV Books in 1999. A second book is anticipated but has not yet been released, to be titled I Hate This Place 2: Tokyo Drift. Fallon has also written a children's book, illustrated by Adam Stower, entitled Snowball Fight.
Fallon also appeared on Diggnation's 185th show.
On May 4, 2010, NBC announced that Fallon would host the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards. With Fallon as host, viewership of the 2010 Emmy Awards increased by over 200,000 viewers from the year before.
On April 24, 2012, Jimmy Fallon filmed his live show in Chapel Hill, NC, on the campus of the University of North Carolina. His guest was President Barack Obama, who spoke primarily about Congress potentially doubling the interest rates of student loans. His musical guest was Dave Matthews.
On June 9, 2012, he guest-hosted American Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest.
On June 12, 2012, Fallon released his second comedy album, Blow Your Pants Off. Most of the songs come from his Late Night impersonations, such as Tebowie and Neil Young. The album is also notable for its guest appearances, which include Stephen Colbert, Eddie Vedder, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Justin Timberlake, Dave Matthews, Big & Rich, and newscaster Brian Williams. The album won a Grammy in 2013 for Best Comedy Album. In an interview with American Songwriter, Fallon stated that "Any comedy album that has Justin Timberlake, Paul McCartney, Eddie Vedder, Dave Matthews, Bruce Springsteen – that's pretty crazy. If I was 15-year-old me, I would be like, 'Oh my God, this is awesome!' Though I'd probably be like, 'Who's Dave Matthews?' because he doesn't exist yet."
Fallon is the creator and one of the executive producers of Guys with Kids, part of NBC's 2012–13 television schedule.
Fallon married film producer Nancy Juvonen, co-owner of production company Flower Films, on December 22, 2007. Fallon and Juvonen have one child, a daughter, born in 2013 via gestational surrogacy.
He has a female English cream Golden Retriever dog named Gary Frick that has appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
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.
Fallon is Catholic and, as a child, wanted to eventually become a priest.