Jimmy Fallon, The Tonight Show host, spoke up to express his regrets about his pre-election interview with President Trump. He interviewed with The New York Times about the incident and stated, “I didn’t talk about it, and I should have talked about it. I regret that.”
Fallon noted that he was not trying to humanize Trump when he tousled the prospective president’s hair. In fact, he thought it would minimize the man, thinking it would not be a compliment. He now acknowledges that this moment was a setback, if not a mistake.
The late night host identifies himself as a people pleaser, so the online backlash following his interview with Trump was hard for Fallon to handle. Described as brutal, fans took to social media to tear into Fallon for the “softball” interview. Fallon stated, “If there’s one bad thing on Twitter about me, it will make me upset. So, after this happened, I was devastated. I didn’t mean anything by it. I was just trying to have fun.” Although he feels that the opportunity to talk about the incident has sailed, he still wishes for everyone to know his regrets.
Earlier on the day of the interview, Trump had made comments regarding “warming up gas chambers” and had refused to say that Obama was born in the United States. These topics were not touched on in the interview and perhaps this accounts for some of the social media unrest. In Variety, Sonia Saraiya even said, “How long will it take before American audiences lose all their faith in him, as an honest person they can watch every night?”
Fallon will not be forgoing political topics on The Tonight Show, however. Seeing as Stephen Colbert’s show has seen higher ratings after he assumed his stance against Trump, it would be a bad move on Fallon’s part. He is still dedicated as ever to making people laugh, but is cognisant of his viewers. “People that voted for Trump watch my show as well,” he noted. He is happy with the fact that only half his monologue is about Trump and will stick to this statistic. “Anything I can make fun of, I will make fun of.”
Colbert has surpassed Fallon in viewers as of late, but the former SNL member will not let this alter his show’s path. Fallon stated that he does not pay attention to the numbers. “I never, ever care. I’ll know when someone fires me.”