Jimmy Fallon says the wide field of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates offers "a breath of fresh air" for late-night TV hosts looking for new material.
“I want my show at the end of a long day to be a wind-down,” the host of “The Tonight Show” says in an interview with Variety published Monday.
“We talk about everything that’s in the news. Right now, all it is is Trump — that’s just the way it is,” says Fallon in a conversation with Hasan Minhaj, host of Netflix's “Patriot Act.” “Now we’re getting into the [2020 Democratic presidential field] and it’s a breath of fresh air,” Fallon said. “We get to talk about them now. I’ll take any funny joke, if it’s about politics or not. I won’t shy away from anything.”
Fallon — who famously caught flak for playfully tousling Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits Biden: Those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas should be prosecuted Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Hackers are making big money MORE’s hair during the then-GOP White House hopeful’s 2016 appearance on his show — said it’s “easy to get depressed” by the daily news headlines.
“I stopped looking at anything on the internet. I just read papers, and then I thought, ‘I can’t even read the papers anymore,’” Fallon, 44, told Minhaj.
Trump blasted Fallon in a 2018 tweet over what he described as “whimpering” by the late-night host about the hair stunt, writing, “Be a man Jimmy!”
Minhaj — who headlined the 2017 White House Correspondents’ Association dinner — said he and Fallon shared the dubious distinction of being on the receiving end of death threats in the tense political climate.
“How do you do comedy when you’re getting death threats?” Minhaj, 33, asked. “So many people have told me, ‘Oh man, you’re so brave for what you’ve done — as long as you don’t die. This is the best thing that could have happened to your career.’ I’m like, ‘Dude I’m not trying to be comedy’s Tupac [Shakur]. I’m not trying to just die for these jokes. I want to live to see these retweets.’”
While other late-night programs, such as Stephen ColbertStephen Tyrone ColbertFox's Bret Baier: Jan. 6 was a 'dark day' for US 'similar to what we saw in 1876' Fox's Gutfeld mocks late night hosts for planned 'climate night' Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central unveil two new animated political satires MORE’s “The Late Show,” have found ratings success with politically charged monologues frequently criticizing Trump, Fallon says that type of humor is “just not what I do.”
“If I went out and ranted for a half-hour — that’s not me and the audience could sniff it out immediately,” Fallon said. “I have feelings about this stuff, but my job with this show is to entertain and make lots of people laugh. I don’t want in any way to incite anger or fear or violence — I’m the opposite of that. If you like that type of stuff, you should watch other things.”