Feb 16, 2014 4:03 PM by Jennifer Horbelt
The torch is passing from Jay Leno to Jimmy Fallon, and a new era in The Tonight Show on NBC begins Monday night.
Jimmy Fallon sat down with me in the midst of the frenzy leading up to the big change to talk about the new job, his new baby, even his favorite Saturday Night Live memories.
While it may seem like a dream job, Jimmy Fallon didn't know you could dream of hosting The Tonight Show.
"When I was a kid, it's just, you would watch Johnny Carson, and I would just watch him, and enjoy him," Fallon told me. "I didn't know that was a job. I didn't know that you could do that, or want to do that."
As if the new gig wasn't exciting enough, he's still getting used to being 'daddy' to his new baby daughter.
"So, as great as you are, honestly, I just want to talk about Winnie. Can we talk about Winnie?" I asked him at the beginning of our interview. He gave a short gasp of excitement.
"Can we talk about Winnie? Alright, this is Winnie. My little baby girl," Fallon told me, holding up a picture of Winnie on his cell phone.
I certainly didn't feel like I was sitting and talking to a late night superstar as he gloated over his daughter.
"She's just the greatest baby ever. She does cool stuff, and she's laughing," Fallon said with a smile.
He also shared where the name Winnie comes from.
"It's not Winnie the Pooh. It's not Winnie from The Wonder Years. It's actually something really special with you and your wife," I said.
"I got engaged in New Hampshire, at my wife's family's summer home that they've had for like 60 years," Fallon told me. "It's a cabin on the lake, at Lake Winnipesaukee."
Fallon's seen plenty of success with Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. Before that, it was Saturday Night Live.
"We did 'Cowbell' with Will Ferrell, and that was the one, that was the one that everyone remembers," Fallon said. "When Will Ferrell comes out, he's bangin' the cowbell, it's so distracting. Christopher Walken comes out and says 'Look, we gotta' do this take again. I gotta' have more cowbell.'"
Perhaps the secret to his success: he's genuine and very funny.
So what can we expect from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon? He tells me, there's no need to fix what ain't broke.
"Tell me you're still going to keep hashtags, please." I asked him.
"Absolutely," Fallon replied.
"And Thank You Notes?" I asked.
"We're keeping Thank You Notes," Fallon said. "And we're keeping The Roots, we're keeping singing with people, dancing with people, playing games. All the fun stuff that we want to do, and we like to do, that the audience responds to we're going to keep. And we just want to make people laugh."
To watch the full interview, uncut, click here.
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon is set for Monday night, February 17, right after the late edition of News 5 at 10, after the Olympics.