Whether you know him for his time on Saturday Night Live or through the endless viral videos online, Jimmy Fallon has more or less become a household name. The Tonight Show host has made a career out of his light humor and high-energy personality, yet to some of his Hollywood peers, Fallon’s trademark style has gotten old.
While you’d think today’s world would welcome a little late-night fun, there are a handful of celebrities that aren’t fans of Fallon’s antics. Love him or hate him, you be the judge — are these criticisms about Fallon unfounded, or do some of these stars have a point?
1. David Letterman: The former king of late night, he was one of many who found fault with Fallon’s apolitical approach to his 2016 interview with then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Though Fallon’s brand of comedy is often light, Letterman was upset that little was done to highlight Trump’s controversial campaign.
“I think you have an obligation [to ask serious questions],” Letterman remarked. He then went on to say that if it’d been him sitting across from Trump that day, he “would have gone to work” on the presidential candidate.
2. John Oliver: Most late night hosts know how to coexist, though Oliver and Fallon haven’t always seen eye to eye. When the Last Week Tonight host appeared on a 2018 episode of The Tonight Show, things quickly got off to an awkward start.
After Fallon remarked on how he liked the name of his guest’s show, Oliver responded by calling the comment “weak.” Later on, he made sure to return to this snafu, using it as a dig at Fallon and his lackluster interviewing skills.
3. Bangs: Known for viral hits like “Take U to Da Movies” and “Meet Me on Facebook,” the South Sudanese-Australian rapper became the subject of ridicule after Fallon included one of his songs on an episode of his show.
In a segment called “Do Not Play,” Fallon joked about how bad “Take U to Da Movies” was and even mimicked Bangs’ performance. The rapper responded by issuing a Fallon diss track, aptly named “Do Not Watch.”
4. Samantha Bee: In the spirit of her scathing satires and biting commentaries, Bee didn’t hold back when it came to criticizing Fallon’s interview with Donald Trump. Much like Letterman, the Full Frontal host felt Fallon’s unserious approach was a waste of his platform.
Bee also slammed Fallon for his infamous tousling of Trump’s hair, which she felt was an attempt at humanizing the highly controversial figure. She was also quick to call out NBC for allowing Trump to appear on the show in the first place.
5. Tracy Morgan: Fallon’s Saturday Night Live co-star from 1998 to 2003, Morgan and the Tonight Show host featured in a number of memorable scenes together over the years. However, according to Morgan, sharing the stage with Fallon could be unbearable at times.
Fallon was well known for his tendency to laugh during his SNL sketches, a habit Morgan loathed. “That’s taking all the attention off of everybody else and putting it on you, like ‘Oh, look at me, I’m the cute one,'” Morgan once said to Page Six.
6. Andrés du Bouchet: The Conan writer and stand-up comedian isn’t exactly the biggest name in the industry, though his 2015 Twitter rant about Fallon still generated plenty of attention. According to du Bouchet, Fallon’s lighthearted style was ruining the state of comedy.
“Comedy in 2015 needs a severe motherf***ing shakeup,” du Bouchet tweeted. “No celebrities, no parodies, no pranks, no mash-ups or hashtag wars. And shove your lip-syncing up your…” well, you get the picture.
7. Donald Trump: Though he appeared to be all smiles at the time, Trump’s feelings toward Fallon soon soured after the comedian apologized for their infamous interview. In typical Trump fashion, the Republican nominee took to Twitter to air his qualms against Fallon.
“Jimmy Fallon is now whimpering to all that he did the famous ‘hair show’ with me (where he seriously messed up my hair), & that he would have now done it differently because it is said to have ‘humanized’ me. He is taking heat,” Trump tweeted. “Be a man Jimmy!”
8. Louis C.K: The troubled comedian may have more on his mind than talk shows these days, though on a 2017 episode of The Tonight Show, C.K. couldn’t stop himself from turning Fallon’s trademark (and much maligned) enthusiasm against him.
After Fallon cracked a joke about naps, C.K. tossed him an odd look and replied, “That’s stupid you said that. That’s such a dumb thing to say.” Fallon was clearly taken aback by the remark, and for the rest of the interview, the awkwardness of the situation was palpable.
9. Chris Christie: Fallon made another political enemy out of Chris Christie, who also appeared on The Tonight Show in the midst of the 2016 presidential campaign. While discussing his 4th of July plans with Fallon, the comedian couldn’t help but take a jab at Christie’s weight and love of ice cream.
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The former New Jersey governor didn’t find the joke funny, however, and immediately walked off the stage. Fallon managed to coax Christie back to his seat, though by that point, the damage was done.
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10. Alan Rickman: No one can say for sure if Fallon’s mockery genuinely got under his skin, but after the Tonight Show host and Benedict Cumberbatch had a “Rickman-Off” to see who could do a better impression of the storied actor, Rickman decided to get even.
During his 2015 interview, Rickman handed Fallon a balloon and made him inhale the helium as payback for his slight. The two had a good laugh about the whole thing, but who knows what Rickman was actually thinking.
Fallon certainly can’t be happy about these celebrities’ unsavory opinions, though there are some in the industry that have made a living out of being disliked. Howard Stern’s entire career was founded on going where no other radio host dared to venture, all the while feeling that he could do no wrong.
After all, his rabid fan base cheered on all of his probing interviews and edgy stunts. Thousands of supporters even joined him in New York to protest the fines the FCC laid on his show.
As far as Howard was concerned, there were no limits as to what he could pull off. However, that blind confidence would morph into a heavy dose of regret years down the road, when one interview in 1994 changed it all.
On the fateful day, Robin Williams was set to make an appearance on Stern, which had radio fans’ mouths watering. Surely, these two heavyweights would dive into a conversation that was both deeply honest and hilarious.
After all, Robin had undergone a fascinating evolution in recent years. Showing off impressive comedic and dramatic acting chops, the stand-up was promoting the outrageous Mrs. Doubtfire. Unfortunately, Howard brought up a wholly different topic.
From the moment the two men went on-air, a thick tension hung in the air — so much for natural chemistry. The interview got off to an ugly start when, never having met his guest before, Howard took shots at Robin’s personal life.
With a brash attitude and barrage of expletives, Howard demanded to know why the actor was suddenly messing around with his nanny. The host, of course, was referring to Marsha Garces, Robin’s former au pair whom he started dating after divorcing his wife.
Listeners ate up the confrontation, but Robin took it differently. He angrily backpedaled throughout the rest of the interview before leaving the studio in a huff. It wasn’t until that night when Howard thought he may have blown a big opportunity.
The interview would surely make headlines, but the host failed to actually connect with Robin. “If I saw him in a movie or even Mork & Mindy, he just brought some goddamn pleasure into my life, which is the whole reason I got into radio,” he realized.
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As years passed by, Howard came to rue that interview more and more. He wanted a second chance to give his listeners a chance to enjoy and celebrate Robin Williams, but the host feared the comic would never speak to him again.
He imagined just having Robin back in the studio and giving him free rein to riff. People would love it! Howard also admitted it was just “arrogance thinking that Robin Williams can’t entertain my audience. How stupid am I?”
As his typical neurotic self, Howard put off this grand plan for years. But in 2014, he finally got a hold of Robin’s agent and got his personal information. It seemed like everything would come together…until Howard flipped on the news the next day.
All kinds of rumors about Robin’s demise were swirling around. Some reporters claimed he took his own life. But they just couldn’t be true, Howard thought. How could this larger-than-life comedy giant somehow be a mortal?
However, Robin’s family soon confirmed the heart-wrenching truth. After discovering he was suffering from a form of dementia, Robin decided he couldn’t go on. One of the world’s brightest lights was suddenly snuffed out.
Howard didn’t want to address his feelings over the air, but this news devastated him. Not only was his hero gone for good, but in their last meeting, Howard had treated him with nothing but disrespect. This time around, the shock jock knew he couldn’t brush off his sadness.
Howard had to face the truth, not just make a joke out of it. As a matter of fact, he channeled a bit of Sean Maguire — Robin Williams’ character in Good Will Hunting — and saw a psychotherapist.
The experience forced Stern to reckon with aspects of his life he’d neglected for years: his relationship with his parents, his need for attention, his anxiety. While therapy wouldn’t bring back Robin, it did change Howard for good.
With a new lease on life, Howard pledged to be more open and thoughtful. Especially around his other showbiz idols, he wanted to do more than just go for the cheap laughs. He sought to connect, while adding in an outrageous Stern moment here or there.
Howard’s fresh outlook also brought him to new career opportunities, like his stint as a judge on America’s Got Talent. He’d spent so many years as radio’s bad boy that he wanted to show audiences the good guy side of him.
But, in typical Stern fashion, he hated the cheesiness of the show. Still, he was glad he went out on that limb. It proved he was a more mature man, who would hopefully avoid mistakes like his disastrous 1994 interview with Robin.
After all, Howard can be a surprisingly sensitive guy away from the microphone. Look no further than his love life for proof. See, the year 1999 was a tough one for him. His 21-year marriage to psychoanalyst Alison Berns had ended, and he was in the middle of a personal low point.
“My marriage ending blew my mind,” Stern shared in an interview with Rolling Stone. “I was upset that I failed and let down my family, my kids, and my ex-wife. It was all very painful.”
The radio personality famously uses his show as an open journal, so it was no shocker when, in his post-divorce slump, Howard took to the airwaves to discuss his newfound bachelor freedom.
Freshly single, Howard dove head first into the dating scene. Quickly, he found that hooking up with a revolving door of women was not solving his self described “neuroses.”
Really, Howard was looking for a constant companion. “I just wanted somebody with me every minute,” he admitted. Within a few months, he’d met someone who perfectly fit the bill.
When Beth met Howard, he was just a nice distraction at a dull dinner. It was the year 2000, and the model-author sat at her friend’s Manhattan party, plotting an escape.
Howard grabbed the only empty chair available, which happened to be directly across from Beth. Her intro line, sarcastically complimenting his eyes, was actually an attempt to mock a girl who’d tailed him all evening.
Weirdly, they discovered their Upper West Side apartments were only half a block apart. Playing it cool, Howard waited until 4 am that same night to call and ask Beth out on the spot.
From that night on, they were an item. But any inkling of wedding bells was far off in the future. Howard famously disavowed marriage after his divorce.
The reluctance to tie the knot came from the radio personality’s fear of ruining a good thing. In the eyes of the public, however, remaining unmarried contributed to the perception that their relationship wasn’t serious.
Beth Stern / Twitter
Some of the speculations about their relationship concerned their 18-year age gap. The difference mattered little to Howard and Beth, a fact proven by their unwavering 7-year partnership.
In 2007, Howard decided it was time to ask Beth to marry him. On air, Howard shared the explicit details of his cheeky proposal to Beth in bed. She delightedly accepted.
His means of asking rung true to his radio bravado, but his reasoning was touching. “Part of the reason I got married was that I wanted Beth to understand how important she is and also how equal I feel she is to me,” he said.
The formative years of their relationship lasted a long stretch, so their engagement was decidedly shorter. Family and a slew of celebrity friends gathered in Le Cirque restaurant in NYC for the nuptials.
Hand in hand, the couple swapped vows led by their officiate, Mark Consuelos. Other notable rice throwers at the ceremony included Sarah Silverman, John Stamos, Joan Rivers, and Barbara Walters.
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The wedding of the world’s most famous radio personality had to be sprinkled with some major pizazz. Howard’s old pal Billy Joel serenaded the guests with an impromptu love tune, and Chevy Chase gave a raucous speech.
Still, Howard’s eldest daughter Emily had misgivings about her father’s second marriage. According to her, the divorce of her parents came as a complete shock.
In a comment to the New York Post in 2015, Emily said, “I felt like the divorce came out of nowhere. He used to be one way, and then he marries a model.”
Those negative comments reportedly resulted in family tension, but Howard maintained he had a close bond with his children. Plus, he and Beth were still very much in love.
Part of their connection stemmed from their love of animals. Beth, a vocal animal rights activist, authored the bestseller, Oh My Dog: How to Choose, Train, Groom, Nurture, Feed, and Care for Your New Best Friend.
Working with the North Shore Animal League, the Sterns fostered over 500 cats and dogs. Rescuing and advocating for furry critters was their shared passion and strengthened their bond.
In fact, Beth and Howard shared several matching tattoos in memoriam of their late pets. One, the name of their cherished dog daughter Bianca, an English bulldog, the other, an apple, the namesake of their first cat.
Beth contributed much of their marital bliss to Howard’s romantic side. “We appreciate each other, and he really listens to everything I say. I think he is quite a catch — the perfect husband.”
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When he was not whipping up watercolor paintings of roses for his wife, Howard always looked for opportunities to make his wife feel special. For example, the time he attempted to sketch Beth while on a date but hysterically missed the mark.
Howard Stern / Twitter
Their lives were less X rated than Howard’s notoriously raunchy radio persona. Though, he still cracked Beth up in unexpected ways, like when she had to walk her 63-year-old husband through brewing a pot of coffee.
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After 11 years of marriage, Beth and Howard had adopted a regular life, with a regular routine. It was dinner by 4 pm and lights out by 8 in the Stern household, since the radio business has an early call time.