The shady side of Jimmy Fallon

Jimmy Fallon is the lovable king of late-night television. He feels like the buddy you want to invite to all the barbecues. He's that guy who can effortlessly distinguish between funny and offensive; the everyman who bridges the gap between the stars and the rest of us. It's easy to forget that the self-deprecating host of The Tonight Show is rich and famous too, and beneath his well-tailored suit and big grin, Fallon reportedly has a darker, rougher, more troubling side. Is he leading a double life? Read on and decide for yourself.

Jimmy Fallon has been called a 'superfunctioning alcoholic'

In February 2014, Jimmy Fallon's Saturday Night Live co-star, Horatio Sanz, said the affable comic had a penchant for booze. "[We] were superfunctioning alcoholics, definitely," Sanz told Vulture. "They say that kind of goes hand in hand with SNL, some kind of substance-abuse issues, because it's so stressful you easily find yourself blowing off steam a lot." Sanz didn't intend to cast a shadow on his friend, but as Fallon's fame continues to grow, an increasing number of folks have suggested that drinking could be negatively undercutting Fallon's "superfunctioning" abilities.

Fallon's alleged drinking exploits aren't just relegated to stories by his friends and former castmates, however. A Manhattan bartender dished some dirt to the New York Post about the time in 2009 that Fallon came to the Whiskey River and partied until 5:30 the next morning. "He's a mess. I love him," she said. "Everything you've heard [about his behavior] is true."

Fallon denied that he has a drinking problem in a 2017 interview with The New York Times. "I could never do a day-to-day job if I was drinking every night," he told the paper (via Entertainment Tonight). "That's just kicking you when you're down."

Is Jimmy Fallon a lover or a fighter?

Jimmy Fallon narrowly escaped a bar brawl in the East Village while partying with friends after a show in 2014. A spy told Page Six, "There was some hostility from some people at the bar. Jimmy was not the aggressor, but he was caught up in it. It was broken up and Jimmy and his friends immediately left." The next night, the tab reported that Fallon partied until the wee hours at a different bar, ordering vodka shots for everyone.

Former Saturday Night Live co-star Horatio Sanz has also waxed poetic about Fallons' fighting skills. "Yeah, we got in a couple of brawls," Sanz told Vulture. "I've seen Jimmy clock a few people." He recalled the time Fallon supposedly poured beer on someone's hat, thinking it belonged to Sanz's friend. It didn't. When the guy the hat belonged to confronted Fallon, "Jimmy just punched him," Sanz claimed. "He wasn't that hurt; he just walked into a tornado of drunken stupidity. Yeah, Jimmy could fight. I don't know where he learned, but he definitely scrapped with the best of them." While it's no secret that Fallon likes to unwind after work, his possible penchant for winding up suggests that the lovable late-night host may be hiding a mean streak. 

Jimmy Fallon has suffered some unusual injuries

Jimmy Fallon's past injuries read like those of a toddler hyped up on Mountain Dew. He reportedly severed a finger at home in June 2015. "I tripped and fell in my kitchen on a braided rug that my wife loves, and I can't wait to burn it to the ground," the comedian told audiences on the night he returned to work. "My ring got caught on the countertop when I was going down, and stuck there and pulled my finger off." Fallon posted a Twitter photo of his bandaged hand, quipping "#drugged" and "#blessed." The injury landed him in the ICU for 10 days and required six hours of surgery. Months later, he chipped a tooth trying to open a jar of scar tissue gel for his hand.

Fallon injured his other hand in October 2015 when he reportedly tripped at a party … with a bottle of Jägermeister. "He just fell on it," a witness told Page Six. "We all thought he did it on purpose." Fallon later told Tonight Show audiences, "I threw the bottle and then I landed on broken glass. there [were] pools of blood everywhere."

Is it bad luck or bad behavior that's tripping Fallon up? The New York Post reported that NBC is "worried that Fallon's drinking has become excessive." An insider claimed Fallon's off-screen antics among network execs have "gone from a whisper to a chatter."

Was Jimmy Fallon's Vanity Fair photo shoot a ruse?

Sam Jones photographed Jimmy Fallon and fellow late-night TV hosts for a September 2015 spread in Vanity Fair titled "Host-to-Host Sensation." In the story's accompanying photograph, ten hosts are gathered together, all dressed in suits with a drink in their hands. The gaggle includes Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Trevor Noah, and more. Fallon is the only person sans beverage.

"The Jimmy thing was a little interesting, because I don't know that everyone got the memo that we were going to have drinks," Jones told the New York Post. "We ended up shooting that a few different ways and…in the end he decided, 'I don't want to have a drink in the picture.'" Some viewed that decision as a shady attempt to cover-up Fallon's drinking antics beneath a squeaky-clean photo shoot.

Jimmy Fallon is coping with 'enormous' pressure

A Tonight Show insider told the New York Post that Jimmy Fallon may be secretly struggling with the success of his show. "There is so much money at stake, the pressure is enormous. [Besides doing the show daily], they're looking for the next viral thing to hit. He has to do calls with affiliates and sponsors. He has no outlet. He's young. He's still learning. You forget he hasn't been doing this 10 years."

If Fallon is leading a double life, he wouldn't be the first late-night host to do so. "There's a sort of loneliness to being a late night host," photographer Sam Jones told the New York Post. Former Late Show host David Letterman was notoriously private about his personal life until a sex scandal and extortion attempt forced him to discuss his problems on air. Fallon is a married man and father of two, so suggestions that he may be living some sort of shady double life could simply reflect a desire to preserve some boundaries between his personal and professional lives.

Jimmy Fallon has a history of racially insensitive humor

In Feb. 2019, comedian Nick Cannon took to Instagram to slam several white comedians for donning blackface. The post included Jimmy Fallon who wore it on Saturday Night Live to impersonate Chris Rock. "Happy "BLACKFACE" History Month!!!" the caption read. "I'm sure we can expect some more "Apologies" by Monday…"

In a follow-up post, Cannon explained why the practice is so offensive. "BlackFace and Racism are rooted in and are byproducts of the Institutionalized Oppression of a subjugated people," he wrote. "These recent revealings of people painting themselves black or brown and speaking in broken slang in an attempt to be humorous or have fun; as if our culture is some sort of party trick or costume is unacceptable."

Fallon had another cringeworthy moment while hosting the 2017 Golden Globes with another awkward impression of Chris Rock. "For some reason, Jimmy Fallon decided that the awards show was the right moment to do a drunken impression of Chris Rock telling a joke about The People v. OJ Simpson," Fusion's Isha Aran wrote in her recap. "For some reason, NBC was into the idea. For good measure, the network cut to a bunch of black people in the audience while Fallon was doing his bit, as if to say, 'It's OK! Really!'"