Jimmy Fallon discusses Jay Leno and 'Tonight Show' plans

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Image Credit: Lloyd Bishop/NBC

Great news for viewers who just can’t get enough of Jimmy Fallon slow-jamming the news — it’s not going away anytime soon.

In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Fallon shared his plans for his move up to The Tonight Show, and explained that the Late Night team intend to pretty much do the exact same thing, just an hour earlier. “We have to. That’s my background from Saturday Night Live,” Fallon explained. “I do sketches, I act, I do impressions. It’s just part of my background, so I have to do that stuff. There’s a hole in late night for that. No one else is doing it. We started doing it five years ago and we’ve gotten really good at it. I’m doing musical stuff, ’cause I love music and so do the Roots. And people look forward to doing musical stuff when they come on our show….We’re doing our show as if we were doing The Tonight Show. It’s news to everyone else. We have been doing The Tonight Show.”

Of course, Fallon also discussed the elephant in the Tonight Show room: Jay Leno. But, according to Fallon, the transition will be much smoother than it was the last time around.

“Jay Leno has been great to me,” Fallon said. “As soon as I got Late Night, I called Jay and said, ‘I want to let you know I want to start on the right foot. I respect you.’ I’ve been a guest on the show numerous times. I said, ‘I’m not gunning for your job. I’m not trying to plot anything. Whenever you’re ready to step down, let me know. But I’m happy at 12:30. And please give me advice on anything.’ He said ‘Great.’ We started off on the right foot, and he’s been fantastic to me the whole way.”

The big move will take place this February, but Leno has already given Fallon some advice. “Longer monologues,” Fallon told the paper, quoting Leno’s big tip. “I was doing about a three-, four-minute monologue. He was like, ‘Make it like seven, eight minutes.’ He said some people don’t have time to see the news and they catch up on the news from your monologue sometimes….We’ve been doing it for the past three months, up to eight, nine minutes. We’re adding video into the monologue now and more graphics, making it more exciting to watch the first 15 minutes of the show.”

At the end of the interview, Fallon shared that while most of his bits are staying the same, there are going to be a few tiny changes to the program besides timeslot. “There are couple of sketches that are a little immature that I won’t be doing, like dumping chocolate syrup on people in the audience.”

Ticket holders just breathed a sigh of relief.


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