The man with the coolest band in talk show history is gunning for that No.1 spot (No Leno!).
By Justin Monroe; (PHOTO) Rennio Malfredi/Trunkarchive.com
Conan O'Brien lost his dream job and Jay Leno is returning to The Tonight Show a primetime failure, but Jimmy Fallon soldiers on. A year ago, when he was just starting Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, few would have predicted that the goofy 35-year-old who seemingly couldn't keep a straight face during a six-year stint on Saturday Night Live would be NBC's most entrenched late-night host today. But, thanks to smart writing, an understanding of youth culture and technology, and an easygoing willingness to try anything, no matter how ridiculous—well, heeeere's Jimmy! We caught up with Fallon to discuss sex scandals, beef between hosts, and his bedtime.
Which is the bigger raw deal: NBC giving Conan only seven months to host The Tonight Show or Arnold Schwarzenegger's 1986 action classic Raw Deal?
I gotta go with Raw Deal
Because he managed to infiltrate the mob with an Austrian accent?
.] It just let him stretch as an actor. I think that's important in your career.
If NBC had similarly ousted you, what do you think your legacy would be?
I think the biggest viral hit we had was Mark-Paul Gosselaar coming on as Zack Morris, so probably reuniting the world with Zack Morris.
Letterman's sex scandal boosted his ratings. Why didn't NBC force you, Conan, and Leno to dip your pens in company pink?
I did! I had a big sex scandal with an intern, Jeffrey, whose last name I'll leave out, and it was a mistake. It got me no press and it just left me feeling guilty.
Why didn't Conan?
You know...pride. Or self-dignity. I just went for it. I just figured, gotta get the ratings up, so I went around harassing people.
When Conan and Leno were going at each other, did it feel like your parents were getting divorced?
Yeah, it definitely did, actually. I felt like the child in the middle going, "Mom and Dad, please don't fight." I don't know who's the Mom—Dad and Dad, my two Dads. But once you get over it, it was like, they're going to be fine. Conan will do great [wherever he goes], and now he's got an extra $40 million to throw around. He could buy an island in Dubai in the shape of the NBC peacock if he wanted to.