While the writers strike is over, Strike Force Five rolls on, and on the eighth episode of their previously-recorded Strike Force Five podcast, Jimmy Fallon explained NBC wasn’t even considering him to host The Tonight Show.
With Seth Meyers acting as host, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver and Fallon described how they got their respective gigs.
Fallon says it was his former SNL boss Lorne Michaels who championed him for the job he took in 2014, following his exit from Saturday Night Live in 2004. “I was leaving SNL, and so Lorne goes, ‘Would you ever want to do it? A talk show?’ I go, ‘I don’t think so,'” said Fallon.
Instead, he offered, “Well, in six years, ask me, and if … I’m around, I’ll think about it.”
In that time, “I was hoping to just be like, you know, Bill Murray or Eddie Murphy or whatever, just leave Saturday Night Live and do movies.”
However, the films he made, Fever Pitch and Taxi, didn’t pan out at the box office, so the network went “cold” on him, he said.
His wife, Nancy Juvonen, urged him, “You have to take this job. You’re one of three human beings to ever do this: David Letterman, Conan O’Brien and you. And, if anything, you’re on a great list of people.”
Fallon continued, “So, I call Lorne, and I go, ‘I’m in. I’d love to do it.’ He goes, ‘Great. NBC doesn’t really want you,'” cracking up the other comics.
“I think Lorne said, ‘Look, I’ve worked with Jimmy. He’s a hard worker. He’s going to be great at this. Either you do this with Jimmy or I’m not involved,'” Fallon recalled. “He actually went to bat for me and changed my life.”
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