Jimmy Fallon Regrets His Controversial Trump Interview

It's the one interview Jimmy Fallon will probably never fully live down—and he's finally speaking candidly about it.

The host of The Tonight Show opened up during his exclusive interview with The New York Times on Wednesday, May 17, 2017. And he spent much of it discussing the harsh backlash he received for his playful interview with then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in September 2016—the one where he famously tussled the now-president's hair.

The Huffington Post, for example, blasted Fallon, stating that he "humanized a dangerous man." The publication also highlighted some of the most critical tweets regarding the interview.

"I didn't do it to humanize him," Fallon stressed to the paper. "I almost did it to minimize him. I didn't think that would be a compliment: 'He did the thing that we all wanted to do.'"

However, the late-night host admitted, "They have a right to be mad. If I let anyone down, it hurt my feelings that they didn't like it. I got it."

The comedian also revealed that the overwhelmingly negative response left him "devastated." "I'm a people pleaser," Fallon disclosed. "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."

But what the former SNL cast member regrets most of all is his silence after the fact. "I didn't talk about it," he said. "And I should have talked about it. I regret that."

That said, viewers shouldn't expect the criticism to impact Fallon's approach to the show. "I don't want to be bullied into not being me, and not doing what I think is funny. Just because some people bash me on Twitter, it's not going to change my humor or my show."

But as The Late Show with Stephen Colbert continues to beat The Tonight Show in ratings every week (via Page Six), Fallon finds himself in a difficult position to do just that while making his humor more political.

Despite the lower ratings, however, Fallon insisted, "I never, ever care [about ratings]. I'll know when someone fires me."