Next month, Jimmy Fallon officially takes over the "Tonight Show" reins from Jay Leno — and Leno has already given him a sage bit of advice on the transition.
Fallon told critics at NBC's winter press tour today that when he reached out to Leno for "Tonight Show" pointers, "he said, 'You have to make your monologue longer.' We were doing a three and a half or four-minute monologue, and Jay was doing nine or ten minutes. So we had to double our monologue."
But Jay had a good reason for the tip; he told Fallon that "a lot of people work all day, and they don't get around to seeing the news. If they happen to miss the news... they go to you for the news." And Fallon said he could relate to that, because growing up, "I got all my news from 'Saturday Night Live.'"
More "Tonight Show" scoop from Fallon:
* First things first: Fallon's first "Tonight Show" guest will be Will Smith, with musical guest U2.
* Fallon said his "Tonight Show" will look a lot like his current "Late Night": "I feel like we've blossomed into what now is going to be the new 'Tonight Show'" over the past five years. His producer Josh Lieb added, "The engine of the show, 95 percent of it, that's going to be the same."
* Fallon explained why he went with "Starring Jimmy Fallon" in the Carson-Allen-Paar style, rather than Leno's "With Jay Leno": "It's show business. It's glamorous... It's an homage, a little tip of the cap to the origins of the show."
* Following the infamous Jay-Conan debacle of 2010, Fallon said, "I called up Jay and I said, 'Hey, I just want to let you know I'm not gunning for your position. I'm very happy at 12:37 a.m.... And when eventually you decide to step down, let's do it the right way.'" Leno agreed, and called Fallon last year to tell him, "I think this is going to be the year."
* Don't be surprised to see Fallon's BFF Justin Timberlake pop up on "The Tonight Show" in the near future: "Whenever he's available to play, he's always great to play with," Fallon said.
* Hosting "The Tonight Show" was never a dream job for Fallon, simply because "I didn't know that this could be a job that you could dream about. If I had a dream job, it would probably be to work at IBM, where my dad worked... The fact that there's going to be a kid out there asking their parents if they can stay up late to watch 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,' that means a lot to me."
* Fallon didn't have much of a clue what Leno might do next: "Maybe he could be the new detective on 'The Blacklist.'"
"The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" premieres Monday, Feb. 17 on NBC.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Jimmy Fallon
- Jay Leno
- Tonight Show