Jimmy Fallon Talks 'Tonight Show' in GQ

When it comes to the late-night wars, Jimmy Fallon is content to sit on the sidelines.

Speculation is brewing that NBC will tap the "Late Night" host to take over "The Tonight Show" when Jay Leno's contract runs out next spring. But Fallon himself isn't indulging in the rumors.

"I mean, in the nicest way, who really cares? In the nicest way," he says in the new issue of GQ magazine. "It would be great, sure, I guess. I'd love it, but it's not on my mind. I'm in no rush to do anything. I'm kind of a boring character in that book. I'm not in a fight with Jay or Conan, or any of them. I don't have that story."

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He's referring, of course, to the drama that unfolded in 2009 when Conan O'Brien (Fallon's "Late Night" predecessor) replaced Leno and then was himself replaced by Leno just seven months later.

While Fallon isn't commenting on taking over "The Tonight Show," his "Saturday Night Live" boss believes he'd be perfect for the gig. "I'm not allowed to say it -- yet. But I think there's an inevitability to it," Lorne Michaels says. "He's the closest to Carson that I've seen of this generation."

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For now, Fallon just wants to concentrate on making "Late Night" a great experience for viewers. "'Have fun' is my message. Be silly. You're allowed to be silly. There's nothing wrong with it," he says.

"On 'Late Night,' it's like we're all in on the joke. That's what I wanted it to be. I'm not doing something sneaky. Inside jokes, I don't like those," Fallon explains.

Jimmy Fallon in GQ's April
Jimmy Fallon in GQ's April

As the GQ writer points out, his style isn't that different from one of his idols, Fred Rogers. "He was so friendly and he was so nice and so interested in everything," Fallon notes. His message, like Fallon's, was, "Be yourself. And be happy with yourself. Be silly. No matter how weird the neighbor kids think you are."