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
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.
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
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.