The beloved host, Jimmy Fallon lost his mother, Gloria Fallon, on November 4 2017. He returned to The Tonight Show Monday night after taking a week off to spend with his family.
Fallon, on the show, looked very shaken from the loss of his mother. He took a moment on air to speak about how great his mother was, “Mom, I’ll never stop trying to make you laugh.”
Fallon in his tribute to his mother, spoke about his past and how much of an influence his mother was on him. He said:
“When we were little, my mom would walk us to the store, me and my sister, and we would hold hands. And she would squeeze my hand three times and say ‘I love you,’ and I would squeeze back, ‘I love you too.’ And last week I was in the hospital at her side and I grabbed her hand, and I squeezed, ‘I love you,’ and I just knew we were in trouble.”
Fallon was completely overwhelmed with emotion as he spoke about his mother. His eyes teared up and voiced cracked every time he spoke.
Fallon continued to say “I feel so grateful to be able to do this every single night, and I’m very appreciative of all the support from all of you that my family has received over the past week. We’re going to continue to work really hard to bring some light and some laughter into the world. Thank you for watching. Thank you for helping me and my family recover from this loss. Mom, I’ll never stop trying to make you laugh. I love you.”
Taylor Swift also made an appearance on the show even though she was not scheduled to be on the show. Taylor played a song from her new album, Reputation, called New Year’s Eve.
The song beautifully depicted the story Fallon was narrating before about his mother. One of the lines in the song said “You squeeze my hand three times in the back of the taxi, I can tell it’s going to be a long road.”
After the show, the Roots’ drummer Questlove Gomez tweeted, “I’m just realizing Taylor didn’t read just the song’s lyrics for tonight’s performance. But the narrative literally applies to the words Jimmy spoke of his mother. Wow. You can’t plan these things @taylorswift13 @FallonTonight.”
After the show the producer and writer of the show, Mike DiCenzo also spoke about the very emotional episode.
He said: “It was a really tough day for our whole staff. A lot of us knew his mom Gloria, and she was the best. The best. She loved the show, she loved all of us, and most of all, she loved Jimmy. They talked on the phone every day. As Jimmy said, she was his biggest fan. And as @Questlove said, Jimmy is not only our boss, he’s our family. We love him. So we were devastated for him last week, and we were feeling for him today.”
He continued to say “I’m sure today was especially tough for Jimmy. The fact that he came out, stood there, and did a normal monologue for the crowd is a testament to how strong he is. But at the desk, you could hear his voice break when talking about our musical guest Taylor Swift, and that’s because he knew what he was about to say… Jimmy’s words about his mom were beautiful. ‘Mom, I’ll never stop trying to make you laugh. I love you.’ I was crying. We all were. The story about his mom squeezing his hand 3 times to say ‘I love you’ when he was a kid, and then him squeezing her hand in the hospital – he hadn’t told any of us that story… More on that in a second. First, a quick word about Taylor Swift.”
He further elaborated, “She was not scheduled to do our show today. But we wanted something special for this first show back, so we asked her on a complete whim, since she had been in town doing SNL. She said yes with zero hesitation. She sang ‘New Year’s Day’. No one had heard it. Suddenly she sings the line, ‘Squeeze my hand 3 times in the back of the taxi.’ I nearly gasped. Tears,” he wrote. “I think everyone in the audience started sobbing.”
“I could see Jimmy silhouetted at his desk dabbing his eyes with a tissue. We all lost it. It was a beautiful coincidence in a beautiful performance. ‘Hold on to your memories, they will hold on to you,’ Taylor sang. That hug between Jimmy and Taylor after the song was 100% real emotion. Whatever you think of Taylor, she did something beautiful for Jimmy and our show today, and we’re forever grateful.”
“Thank you to Taylor, the Roots, [Steve Higgins], our whole staff and crew, and to all the FalPals, fans, and everyone who reached out to and supported Jimmy and his family. I can tell you it meant everything to him,” he tweeted. “One last note: our show was right on time today, but we edited out a minute to leave room for Jimmy high-fiving audience members during the end credits. It was Gloria’s favorite part of the show. We love you, Gloria.”