Though comedian Jimmy Fallon may have garnered a reputation for making audiences laugh — or briefly look up from their TikTok doom scrolls as his late-night television show provides some much-needed evening background noise — the Saturday Night Live alum has another not-so-hidden talent: Making his staffers cry.
EXCLUSIVE: Sixteen current and former staffers say Jimmy Fallon’s erratic behavior spoiled their “dream” of working on The Tonight Show.— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) September 7, 2023
“You never knew which Jimmy we were going to get and when he was going to throw a hissy fit.”https://t.co/SPY0ZkoXNA
A new report from Rolling Stone added Fallon to the ever-growing list of ------- comedians, the host joining the ranks of Ellen DeGeneres and James Corden after several current and former staffers accused the star of mistreating his team during his nine-year tenure as host of The Tonight Show.
While some days were “good Jimmy days,” the comic flaunting his famed wit and talents, employees frequently feared the dreaded “bad Jimmy days,” or days where workers tiptoed around the comic’s “outbursts.”
This inconsistency, one fueled by the show burning through nine showrunners in nine years, negatively impacted behind-the-scenes morale, staffers dubbing dressing rooms as unofficial “crying rooms” and regularly joking about “wanting to kill themselves.”
Several employees headed to HR to speak out about The Tonight Show’s culture of underlings fearing their bosses and “pretty glum atmosphere,” as one staffer called it, yet these concerns were largely swept under the rug, some workers even getting fired for broaching their concerns.
The Tonight Show was so disastrous during Fallon’s time as host that Rolling Stone’s Senior Entertainment Reporter Krystie Lee Yandoli struggled to find anyone past or present who was willing to say anything nice about their time working alongside Fallon.
You know how hard it is to get 30 people to all agree on something? Like 30 current & former staffers all agreed Jimmy Fallon is a person. Ain’t nobody went to bat for him lol https://t.co/jEZM2T2DBu pic.twitter.com/vC7J0jhnq3— Nicholas (@NicholasJLevi) September 7, 2023
“While many of them praised Fallon’s immense talent and comedic gifts, not a single one agreed to speak on the record or had positive things to say about working on The Tonight Show,” he wrote of his methodology in sourcing the article. “Nor would any of the program’s nine showrunners since 2014 comment about the program’s namesake on the record – they wouldn’t even give statements of support, as is common in the entertainment industry.”
But it wasn’t just workers who noticed Fallon’s alleged penchant for being a Grade A a—hole. Fellow comedian Jerry Seinfeld once insisted the comic apologize after witnessing Fallon snap at a staffer handling his cue cards during an incredibly uncomfortable on-camera incident.
“It was very awkward, and Jerry [Seinfeld] was like, ‘You should apologize to him,’ almost trying to make it a joke,” one former employee recalled of the encounter. “It was one of the strangest moments ever and so many people were there, so it’s kind of hard to forget.”
This painful encounter was unsurprisingly edited out of the program.
We can only hope Fallon takes his own advice — more cowbell, less a-holery.