“I did it. I’m finally here.”
Jimmy Fallon looked at the crowd from behind the curtain, holding back all of his excitement and a nervous bladder. He did something that seems so impossible to do: Be the host of the tonight show.
Words couldn’t properly express how he felt about this moment. ‘Thank you. I love you.’ kept rolling around in head as the show was about to start. He thought about everything that came before him, a tear trickled down his face as he starts to recall the events that transpired.
He was in the writer’s room working with the group on a new series of sketches. Something that would apply the backwater living of Duck Dynasty, with the hilarious antics of their day to day office hours. It wasn’t getting anywhere because they were all stumped on finding ways to make homophobic jokes tasteful.
He threw his no.2 pencil to the ground and stammered out. “I’ll be in my office, thinking up more ‘history of dance’ moves.”
On the way, he stopped by the coffee pot to get himself some decaf. Poured it into his favourite coffee mug. The mug itself was plain white, but that’s not the story as to why it’s his favourite.
He got it two years ago, doing a random performance at a library in Boise, Idaho. Singing songs about Captain Underpants while doing his Neil Young impression. It was his favourite impression, and he was always looking for excuses to perform it. Who could blame him, it was pretty good.
The local children loved the act and afterwards a table was set up so he could meet-n-greet with the fans. Amongst them was a little boy, probably around 5 years old.
“Jimmy! Jimmy! Jimmy!” the boy shouted, “I made this for you, I made this for you!” The boy handed him a white coffee mug with a marker drawing of Mr. Fallon on the side. A word bubble on the top-right side that says ‘hey, I’m Jummy Fallon.’
“Aww, thanks little man. That’s really sweet of you. You know… I’m going to drink out of this coffee cup all the time.”
That was the only thing the boy wanted to hear.
The following day, he was at home with his morning routine. A banana, a bowl of cereal, and a cup of coffee. The Television screen is on NBC’s Today show. He always laughs, almost choking on his cereal, whenever Al Roker makes a poop joke (which is practically all the time, since his colonoscopy).
When he’s done he always gives the dishes a prewash before sticking them in the dishwasher. It’s a low pressure washer so he always likes to make sure they will be clean with a little pre-wash. As he soaked the mug and put it into the machine… he paused. This fan made mug suddenly had something different about it.
It was completely blank.
To be honest it didn’t occur to him that the marker was the kind that washes off. If you consider the age of the child, he probably likes to draw all over everything and the mother bought him a set of washables as a precaution. Nobody considered the possibility that permanent marker would have been better suited for this job. But it probably took the boy 5 or 6 tries until he was happy with the picture, so in that respect washable marker was a good idea. But again, Jimmy would have been happy with anything, because he never really gets this kind of fan stuff.
He clasped his hand to his mouth in shock. “ohmygod, what have I done? I just washed this little boys talent away.”
He put the mug down. The hand that was over his mouth shifted it’s way up to his forehead. Slight pacing back and forth in the kitchen. He couldn’t understand what just happened because he didn’t think washable marker came off that easy, it was just a rinse.
Now it just looks like every other coffee cup. Plain. White. Just like him. Was this a metaphor? Was everything that he’s worked for in the past couple of years suddenly going to be washed down the drain? He didn’t want to think of it that way. He didn’t want to be another Conan O’Brien.
Thinking for a moment, maybe he could just redraw the picture from memory. ‘No, That wouldn’t be right.’ he thought, ‘It wouldn’t be the same.’ Not because it would be him redrawing the picture, but because he’s obviously a better artist than the child. So his humble nature prevented him from moving forward on that idea.
After dwelling on it for too long, Fallon suited up and tucked the mug into his messenger bag. He keeps it at work as a reminder that you can persevere if you’re strong enough. He’s always drank from it since then. At least, he thinks he does. It looks like every other coffee mug in the office, so he’s probably lost track of it within a month’s time.
He sipped his decaf and went straight to his office. Looking out the window, at the beautiful New York skyline.
Just then, his assistant’s voice perks up on the Speaker. “Jimmy, the phone is for you. Line 3. You might want to hear this.”
He picks up the phone. “Hello, this is Jimmy.” Then takes a sip of coffee.
“The Tonight show is yours. Leno gave in. You better prepare.”
Jimmy spat decaf, all over the desk in front of him. “I… I’m sorry?”
“I said, the Tonight show is yours. And get ready, because we’re moving it back to New York. We don’t want it to turn out like the last time. We’re taking the necessary steps. Congratulations.”
As he now stands behind a curtain ready to begin as the new host of the tonight show, he can’t help but think back to that moment and wee a little.
This is the biggest break that he never imagined getting. Kind of doesn’t feel that he deserved it a little bit. In fact he would have still been happy at Late Night. The show was still so new, so young.
His moment of recollection soon came to end as the AD shouted for the show to begin. The Roots start the new theme song, and in the corner of his eye, Tina Fey gives him a thumbs up that everything is going to be fine.
He smiles, almost trips, as the curtain opens up and he makes his way out onto the stage. The crowd cheers because the applause sign is on.
He waves. He bows. He begins a new era.
He never realized his new set would be so tiny.