The June 19 episode of The Hollywood Reporter’s “Awards Chatter” podcast, Jimmy Fallon got emotional as he reflected on tussling President Donald Trump’s hair on the Sept. 15, 2016, episode of NBC’s The Tonight Show; the incident occurred after Trump had been named the Republican presidential nominee and two months before he was elected into office. At the time, Fallon was given permission to “mess up” Trump’s hair, which had been viewed as an oddity.
In hindsight, Fallon said, “I did not do it to ‘normalize’ him or to say I believe in his political beliefs or any of that stuff.” According to the host, the criticism he faced afterward “just got bigger and out of control. I saw other comedians from other shows making fun of me on Twitter and I go, ‘OK, now I’m just gonna get off.’ They know the show. I’m just doing five hours a week. I get in at 10 in the morning, I work ’til seven at night and I’m just trying to make a funny show.”
Addressing his critics directly, Fallon said, “You know the grind and you know me. Of all the people in the world, I’m one of the good people. I mean, really. You don’t even know what you’re talking about if you say that I’m evil or whatever.” Critics continued to pile on, Fallon recalled. “Some people don’t even want to hear anything else. They’re like, ‘No, you did that!’ You go, ‘Well, just calm down. Just look at the whole thing and just actually see my body of work.’