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Jimmy Fallon Has a New Show and a New Health Regimen

The new Late Night host talks about being funny, being fit, and dealing with stage fright.
By Lauren Paige Kennedy
WebMD The Magazine
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live alum and newly minted Late Night sensation, was once famed for something other than funny one-liners -- at least among a group of New York City firefighters. "I was hungover every Sunday," Fallon recently admitted, the inevitable result of post-taping SNL parties that rocked into the wee hours of the morning. As Fallon skulked past the firehouse to his favorite Midtown bar for a little "hair of the dog" each Sunday afternoon, the city's bravest mocked his delicate state and cracked wise, skewering the "Weekend Update" anchor's latest performance.

Who's laughing now? Not only is his new gig, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, which he took over from 16-year front man Conan O'Brien in March, the leader in its time slot, the 34-year-old comedian, actor, musician, and talk show host has cleaned up his health act, too. And for good reason: He shoots more than 200 shows a year before a live audience, a daunting proposition for any performer.

"If the host calls in sick, there is no show," Fallon says simply. "So the host can't get sick!" This means he's reaching for a new kind of beverage these days. "I've started doing stuff like drinking raw green juice -- this mixture of spinach, parsley, and God knows what else is in it -- like once or twice a day. And I do fish oil supplements, eat salads, that kind of thing."

Hoping to avoid what happened to fellow professional chatter Ellen DeGeneres, who broadcast from her hospital bed in 2007 when she injured her back, Fallon is treating "the grind, but the good grind" of putting out Late Night -- complete with monologue, skits, musical acts, and, of course, the banter with a revolving roster of celebrity guests --  like a boxer training to go extra rounds. (Cue the Rocky soundtrack.) These days, Fallon says, he goes out less, sleeps more, and takes care of himself.

Getting sick on vacation

His parents, Gloria and Jim, married 37 years and their son's biggest fans, are right there in the ring with him. "Yeah, they're totally into power naps now," Fallon jokes. "They won't miss a show, but it's like they have to train for it. I'll call Mom around 12:15 [a.m.], and she'll answer the phone, all tired and yawning and whatnot, but she'll be like: ‘Okay, we're up! We're tuning in!'"

Still, he muses, he could always emulate the late Johnny Carson, the legendary host of The Tonight Show, who amused the masses for 30 years before he turned over the spotlight to Jay Leno in 1992.

"When Carson got sick," Fallon says, "he'd get someone great to take over for the night. Now that might work." You can almost see him mentally dumping his green juice concoction down the sink at the mere possibility.

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