“It’s so embarrassing and I feel so bad,” Fallon told the crowd during a Zoom meeting with “Tonight” staff: “I’m sorry for embarrassing you, your family and your friends. “I feel so bad I can’t tell you.” : “I want this show to be fun, it should be inclusive, it should be funny, it should be the best show, the best people.”
Several former employees of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” spoke to Rolling Stone about what they described as a toxic work environment behind the scenes of NBC’s late-night show. Some of these employees said their mental health worsened during their time on the program, where they claimed Fallon could lash out under pressure. Nine different showrunners have helmed “Tonight” since Fallon replaced Jay Leno in 2014, and the temporary nature of the position — including Comedy Central’s “Daily Show,” NBC’s “Late Night With Seth Meyers” , ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel” has significantly less turnover. Live” and CBS’s “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” are said to worsen the situation.
NBC declined to allow executives to comment.
Insiders for the show have pointed to an era of stability since Chris Miller was named showrunner in March of last year. Miller, who has worked with Drew Barrymore and her Flower Films production company for 23 years, says he spends a significant amount of time managing the different backers behind an entertainment film. One of his contacts during this time was Nancy Juvonen, Fallon’s wife and Barrymore’s longtime producing partner. In the early years of his tenure on the show, Miller attempted to focus the program on Fallon’s strengths, such as impressions, sketches, and music, and to steer the program away from heavy doses of political humor.
“Nobody said ‘No’ to Jimmy. “Everyone was walking on eggshells, especially the showrunners,” a former staffer told the magazine. “You never knew which Jimmy we were going to cast and when he was going to throw a tantrum. Look how many showrunners left so quickly. We know it doesn’t last long.”
The show allegedly had a “cry room” on set where employees could relieve stress due to the hostile work environment.
“Everyone seemed to have a bad day if Jimmy was in a bad mood,” one former employee said. “People weren’t joking around in the office, standing around talking to each other. “It was like, ‘Jimmy’s in a bad mood so focus on whatever you have to do and if he sees that, he might fly away.’
Additionally, a staff member claimed that Fallon appeared drunk at work during rehearsal and did not remember crossing out a joke in his notes. “He didn’t remember crossing out himself,” the employee said. “I thought: ‘Oh my God, that [seems] drunk. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. It could be very bad, it could be the end of the show here.’”
Fallon’s “Tonight Show” is currently on hiatus due to strikes by the WGA and SAG-AFTRA unions, which represent writers and actors.