King Of The Backyard
Little Jimmy was never left wanting in the sleepy town of Saugerties, New York, except perhaps for his freedom. His overprotective parents kept a watchful eye on him and his sister, limiting their play to the family's backyard, forcing Jimmy to ride his bike in circles around its perimeter. "We did it so much that there was a dirt track of where we used to ride our bikes," he told Rolling Stone in 2011, "and I used to listen to my Walkman and ride my bike every day after school in circles," says Fallon. "I felt like Gus the Polar Bear in Central Park. I probably went a little nuts doing that." Jimmy describes Hallowe'en as a kid in this interview with Vince Vaughn on 'The Tonight Show'. Poor young, Irish falcon...
His 'Pee-Wee' Makes It Big
While it was his impression of Adam Sandler and myriad musicians that earned Jimmy a spot on "SNL", it was with his take on singular comedian Paul Reubens' alter-ego that he got his start. He won a young comedian's contest with this, his first "real impression." NBC's Studio 8H beckoned.
A Brother? He Was Almost A Father!
Being brought up in an over-protective Irish Catholic home instilled in Fallon an overwhelming sense of guilt that only becoming a man of the cloth could assuage. "I loved the church," he told the San Antonio Catholic Beat in 2012. "I loved the idea of it. I loved the smell of the incense. I loved the feeling you get when you left church. I loved like how this priest can make people feel this good." Soon he would discover something else that could make people feel good: comedy. (Note: Apologies for illustrating Fallon's religious fervour with this pic of him with Madonna.)
The Authorized Jimmy Fallon
While mired in his post-movie career funk, Jimmy (along with sister Gloria) penned "I Hate This Place: The Pessimist's Guide to Life" — a volume of one-liners and affirmations on life as seen through a glass half-empty. Two more books followed: 'Snowball Fight!' (2014) and 'Your Baby's First Word Will Be DADA' (2015).
Goth Goes Country
After the flops of "Taxi" and "Fever Pitch", Jimmy's chance as a leading man was all but extinguished. It was during this period that Jimmy entered his lost years: days spent drinking with nary an iron in the fire. One brief bout of productivity, however, saw Fallon write a screenplay "about a guy in a goth band who has to pretend to be a country-music star," Fallon told Rolling Stone. The screenplay remains unproduced, though, we wonder if the idea is closer to reality now that its writer's star is shining more brightly in the Hollywood sky. (Note: It was far easier to find a photo of Jimmy in country garb than that of goth)
Fallon Finds Love On 'Fever Pitch'
Luis Yllanes / Splash News
Though the movie proved a failure at the box office, it was a success as Cupid, bringing Fallon and its producer, Nancy Juvonen, together. The pair met at a birthday party Drew Barrymore threw for Juvonen in May 2007. Jimmy wasted no time, proposing to Nancy a few months later; they were married before the end of the year. They share two daughters, both in 2013 and 2014.
He Was In A Band (Or, He Was A Brother)
Many of the actors that featured in the epic 2001 miniseries went on to further success (we're looking at you, Damian Lewis). While Fallon had already developed a name for himself on "SNL", it was a treat for fans to see him in something other than the sketch comedy. Unfortunately, his role as 2nd Lt. George C. Rice flickered ever so briefly (one minute, to be exact) that fans with small bladders and poor timing could very easily miss his performance.
Did He Fallon His Face?
Given his strict upbringing, it is no surprise, then, that the nascent "SNL" member caroused with abandon when he finally left home and hit New York City. By his side was fellow "SNL" alum Horatio Sanz. Together, the two lived the hedonism many ascribed to the high-pressure, high-fame lifestyle of the late-night show's early stars. “We were super-functioning alcoholics, definitely,” Sanz told Vulture. And where there's booze, there were brawls. "Yeah, Jimmy could fight. I don’t know where he learned, but he definitely scrapped with the best of them.”
Doesn't Anyone Remember Laughter?
It is ironic that a comedian on a comedy show should be met with such vitriol for laughing -- especially when his inability to keep a straight face during a skit is one of his most endearing (and watchable) traits. But while audiences love watching 'Debbie Downer' on repeat, boss Lorne Michaels felt differently. "Lorne didn’t like it. I didn’t like it," he told GQ in 2013, "but the sketches I laughed in became popular." Fellow actors fell just short of accusing him of doing it on purpose -- laughing during a sketch to make it all about him -- but Jimmy didn't care, eventually using this approach as the lynchpin for the comedy that would feature on 'The Tonight Show'. "On 'Late Night', it’s like we’re all in on the joke. That’s what I wanted it to be. I’m not doing something sneaky. Inside jokes, I don’t like those."
Getting 'Stoned' With Jagger
That's my favourite thing I've ever done on the show...." That's Fallon discussing his now-trademark SNL skit -- one in which he stars alongside an idol, Mick Jagger. "I pitched Mick a zillion skit ideas, and he didn't like any of them. Finally, I suggested the mirror thing and he's like, 'Oh, great!'" It was impressions such as these that earned Jimmy a spot on the "SNL" roster, and would contribute much to his popularity with the show's "hipper" fanbase.
Late-Night Social Saved His Life
Well... perhaps it didn't save his life, but it certainly saved his career. The early days of Jimmy's "The Tonight Show" were a mish-mash of skits, impressions, music — and the odd interview when Jimmy needed a chance to sit down. Detractors called the show unfocused but Jimmy's team preferred to think of it as playing to the host's strengths. Realizing, in the age of YouTube and viral videos, that timeslots are irrelevant, Fallon continues to create "SNL"-style, standalone skits featuring likeable celebs that will have spread across the internet by lunchtime the next day.