Jimmy Fallon took center stage at the 2011 PaleyFest Friday night (March 11), and this time he was the interviewee, not the interviewer.
Fallon was the sole guest at the festival, submitting to an easygoing, funny and clip-filled interview with his friend, comedian and “Web Soup” host Chris Hardwick. He talked a lot about how he puts together “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” the type of people he likes to work with (he hired his writers “based on their talent, not their resumes”) and about his career leading up to “Late Night,” including his time on “Saturday Night Live.”
He also shared a few things we didn’t previously know. Depending on your level of Fallon fanaticism, some of these things might be familiar to you. But we thought found the following six tidbits pretty interesting.
1. He didn’t pass his first “Saturday Night Live” audition. Producers liked his audition bit — as part of his early stand-up act, he did impressions of several celebrities selling Troll dolls — but decided to hire Tracy Morgan instead.
2. The next year, he did get the “SNL” job. Fallon was invited to audition again the following year, provided he “didn’t do the troll bit.” Instead, he did an Adam Sandler impression, and it led to him joining a cast that also included Will Ferrell, Molly Shannon, Morgan, Chris Kattan and Chris Parnell (Tina Fey was a writer then but didn’t go on-camera for a couple more years).
3. When he shoots the “Robert Is Bothered” segments for “Late Night,” Fallon climbs out a window on the 11th floor of NBC’s offices at Rockefeller Plaza and into the tree. Michael Blieden, who directs many of the show’s filmed segments, climbs into the tree with him.
4. The “Late Night” studio at 30 Rock, Studio 6B, was home to radio-era NBC stars like Bob Hope in its early days, then to Milton Berle and “Texaco Star Theater,” Jack Paar‘s version of “The Tonight Show” and the first 10 years of Johnny Carson‘s show before Carson moved “Tonight” to Los Angeles in 1972. (Right before “Late Night” moved in, it had been a news studio for WNBC-TV.)
5. There’s a giant pickle hanging from the ceiling of Fallon’s office. It was a gift from previous “Late Night” host Conan O’Brien, who in turn received it from David Letterman.
6. If you’re ever on the NBC tour at 30 Rock, you might have a chance to help Fallon shape his nightly monologue. “Late Night” doesn’t really do a dress rehearsal, but he does run through potential monologue jokes in front of a small audience taken from the tour groups.