Born in the Bronx but raised in Saugerties in upstate New York, 30-year-old Jimmy Fallon wrapped up seven seasons on "Saturday Night Live" last season and began concentrating on his movie career. In Peter and Bobby Farrelly's "Fever Pitch," which opened Friday, he plays an extreme Boston Red Sox fan and math teacher who falls in love with Drew Barrymore's high-powered business consultant. Calendar caught up with the rapid-talking Fallon a week ago via cellphone while he was being ferried around L.A. doing publicity.
You've been doing comedy for most if not all of your adult life. Were you funny as a kid?
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday April 14, 2005 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 46 words Type of Material: Correction
Jimmy Fallon and 'SNL' -- In Sunday Calendar's Brief Encounter column, actor Jimmy Fallon said he and the TV show "Saturday Night Live" were the same age. Fallon was born Sept. 19, 1974, and "Saturday Night Live" debuted Oct. 11, 1975, according to their respective websites.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday April 17, 2005 Home Edition Sunday Calendar Part E Page 2 Calendar Desk 1 inches; 41 words Type of Material: Correction
Jimmy Fallon and 'SNL' -- In last Sunday's Brief Encounter column, actor Jimmy Fallon said he and "Saturday Night Live" are the same age. Fallon was born Sept. 19, 1974, and "SNL" debuted Oct. 11, 1975, according to their respective websites.
I guess so. My parents are both funny, and my grandparents who lived next door when I was growing up were also very funny. So were my father's parents. People were always singing songs and telling jokes. And I remember watching "Saturday Night Live" when I was like 6 or 7. We're the same age and our birthdays are in September. Lorne [Michaels, producer of "SNL"] thought it was weird that the show and I are exactly the same age.
Who were your inspirations?
I also used to tape Steve Martin and Richard Pryor monologues off the TV on this reel-to-reel tape recorder I got at a garage sale or somewhere. I was kind of obsessed as a kid with "SNL" the way my character was with the Sox.
Growing up as a New York native, where did your baseball loyalty lie?
I was more of a Yankees fan, but the usual, nothing like the guy I played in the movie. Lorne took us to games sometimes -- he had the greatest seats ever.
You filmed scenes at Fenway Park during the World Series.
Fenway Park is the holy grail of baseball. You have to see it. You can smell the grass, you can hear the players. It's a really awesome moment to see a game at Fenway Park, whether you like the Sox or not.
In the movie, your character is very quick-witted. Were your lines mostly from the script?
The writers [Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel] left room for ad-libbing, but the script when we got it was really good. When I got the part, we all got together with Drew out on Martha's Vineyard and went over the script with Babaloo and Lowell. We gave them some suggestions and they used them when they thought they would work.
When Ben, your character, met Lindsey, Drew's character, her friends and her parents, were those lines in the script?
The lines when I met her parents were written, but for the scene meeting the friends the line was given to me by Bobby or Peter on the day the scene was shot. We tried several different ones, and the best one ended up in the movie.
Do you do much writing yourself?
I once tried to keep a dream journal, thinking it would help me be funnier, but never seemed to remember to do it. I would look at my datebook and realize it had been weeks since I'd written anything, so gave it up.
I did write a joke book with my sister, Gloria, called "I Hate This Place: The Pessimist's Guide to Life." It's one of those books with one joke per page.
Your bio indicates you worked with the Groundlings in L.A. and toured clubs all over the country.
The Groundlings, it's the greatest thing ever. I recommend it to anyone who wants to do comedy. I did clubs in Boston and Toronto; Mike McDonald on "Mad TV" is one of my teachers. The Improv in L.A. is a great place. The pay is terrible, something like $8.25 a set, but they feed you. My mom was glad because she knew I was eating.
Including "Fever Pitch," you've done four movies. Now about that last one ...
Well [chuckling], when I did "Taxi," I was leaving "SNL" at the time, and I thought if I leave and don't have a movie, I won't have anything to motivate me. Tim Story, the director, did a great job with "Barbershop." I still think the idea of Queen Latifah and me chasing those women as they rob banks is pretty funny. Even if the movie didn't do so well.
I traveled back and forth during shooting while I was still doing the show, so that was hard. While I was doing "Fever Pitch," I didn't have another job, so I was focused on the movie.
What are you reading right now?
"Father Joe" by Tony Hendra. I also picked up "How I Became Stupid" [by Martin Page] about a guy who was really smart, but miserable.
Where will you be when the movie opens?
At my parents', but I'm meeting them in Boston for the premiere. We'll do the red carpet thing at Fenway Park then head over to the AMC then to a place called the Avalon for the party. All of it's for charity. The Farrellys, those guys are so amazing. They are involved with so many charities. We've done one thing after another. I've never seen anything like it.