Jimmy Fallon preps for next gig as "Tonight Show" host

Written by Maria Sciullo on .

Jimmy Fallon isn't a rock star but sometimes, he plays one on TV.

A couple of years back, the current "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" star kicked off an Emmy Awards hosting spot with a rousing, all-star "Born to Run" opening number -- complete with The Boss's blue-jean/white tee-shirt, "Born In the USA" look. His many Late Night musical forays are just part of the goofiness; he's also been featured in an epic lip-sync competition against guest John Krasinski. Another legendary lip-sync battle involved Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Stephen Merchant.

House band, The Roots, are a big part of each show.


"I grew up loving music and also loving comedy; I learned to play the guitar later on, like at 15," said Fallon, who was in Pittsburgh today promoting the February 17 start of his hosting "The Tonight Show" on NBC when Jay Leno steps down.

"But I was never in a band... it's almost like, if you like pizza, don't work in a pizzeria, because you probably won't like pizza in five year, won't stand the smell of pizza."

Instead, a young Fallon -- he's 39 now -- chose to bolster the music industry by never allowing his sister or friends to copy any of his purchased record albums. ("If you want it, go out and buy it. when I brought a mix tape to a party, I made sure I left with a mix tape," he said, laughing. "I'd play it, then take it home. I was a very, very weird kid.")

Growing up in Saugerties, New York, Fallon dreamed performing comedy on "Saturday Night Live" but figured he'd work at IBM, like his dad. Hosting "Tonight"? Who even considered that?

With mentor Lorne Michaels still serving as executive producer for Fallon, don't expect "The Tonight Show" to change drastically. "More people involved, more cooks in the kitchen, but it's fine," Fallon said. "Just more network people than I deal with at 12:30. At 12:30, nobody cares what we do."

On December 21, Fallon returns to host SNL, with Justin Timberlake as musical guest.

(For more on Fallon dropping by NBC affiliate WPXI Friday, read Saturday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)

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