Less than two months before last year’s Presidential Election, Jimmy Fallon fell under an avalanche of criticism for hosting then-candidate Donald Trump and playfully mussing his hair. Eight months later, he is finally addressing critics who say he humanized Trump.
“They have a right to be mad,” Fallon conceded to the New York Times. “If I let anyone down, it hurt my feelings that they didn’t like it. I got it.”
Fallon explained that the joke did not exactly go as planned.
“I didn’t do it to humanize him. I almost did it to minimize him,” he said. “I didn’t think that would be a compliment.”
To many viewers, however, that is exactly how it came across. Now, with the majority of American public standing in stark opposition to the current regime, Fallon has seen his Tonight Show ratings take a major hit as Trump critics, Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel, have soared.
“I shouldn’t have started the hashtag #FireColbert,” Fallon joked. “Looking back on it, I went too far.”
In reality, Fallon harbors no actual ill-will toward his late night competitors and maintains that he is pleased with his ratings and performance, but he is no fan of Trump. “He thinks a cardiologist is someone who works at Hallmark,” he said, mocking Trump’s lack of healthcare knowledge.
For the most part, politics are just not his interest. “Jimmy is not a political comedian, so it would be very phony of him to go out and do long political joke rants,” said friend and fellow Saturday Night Live alum, Tina Fey.
That said, Fallon understands that he mishandled the Trump situation.
“I didn’t talk about it, and I should have talked about it,” he said. “I regret that.”
Sheila Norton is a writer with ten years of Capitol Hill experience. Subscribe to the OD Action email to get all the hottest news delivered right to your inbox every day at www.odaction.com