There’s a reason Jimmy Fallon is the reigning king of late night — you can’t break his cool. That’s not to say the SNL regular turned Tonight Show host doesn’t get silly. Quite the opposite, Fallon has brought goofy games and gags back into late-night rotation in a big way.
But you just can’t break Fallon’s spirit — the man doesn’t seem to get rattled by much.
Billboard learned that first-hand while spending time with Fallon for this week’s cover story, part of Billboard’s special TV & Music issue. Ahead of Jonathan Ringen’s full article, which comes out Thursday, Sept. 17, here are five examples.
Rolling With Justin Bieber‘s Last-Minute Change of Plans
The morning of the singer’s Tonight Show appearance, Bieber decided to axe a planned sketch on The Tonight Show — after Fallon had tweeted about it.
“I wish they’d told me weeks ago because today’s the day, and now we have to crunch and think of an idea to do. And I have to apologize to the crew guys who built the set and the wardrobe people and everyone,” Fallon says. “But it’s not what he does. He’s here to sing, so as long as he’s comfortable and it sounds good, then we did our job.”
Staying Friendly With the Competition
Although Stephen Colbert has moved into the time slot opposite The Tonight Show, Fallon isn’t interested in courting a rivalry. “[Jimmy] Kimmel was great to me — when I came on he was very supportive,” Fallon says. “So I’m going to be just as supportive as I can be to Colbert.” He did just that with a quick cameo on Colbert’s Late Show debut.
(Almost) No Finger? No Problem!
Fallon didn’t lose his finger (thankfully), but a freak fall at home in June involving his wedding ring almost severed it from his hand. U2 sent their condolences after suffering recent falls of their own. “Bono was one of the first emails,” says Fallon, adopting an Irish brogue. “He said, ‘Welcome to the club, my Irish brother.’ And Edge sent me a thing. He fell too! I mean, it’s insane. I go, ‘Why are we all falling? What the hell is wrong with us?'”
He Doesn’t Take Sides
Jon Stewart cited the exhausting political grind as part of the reason he left the Daily Show earlier this year, but Fallon doesn’t seem prone to the same problem. “When it comes to the show, I don’t have a dog in the fight. If [politicians] want to come on, my job is to make them look good, no matter who it is…The fact that Trump decided to do our show over other shows is an honor. Hillary could have done any other show. But she chose ours.”
He’s Down for Whatever
Despite what Lorne Michaels describes as the “grueling pace” of late night TV, Fallon tells Billboard, “If we have an audience, I’ll be there.”
Read the full Jimmy Fallon cover story, part of Billboard’s special TV & Music issue, when it’s out Thursday, Sept. 17.