A backstage encounter between “Saturday Night Live” colleagues Amy Poehler and Jimmy Fallon from over two decades ago has resurfaced amidst allegations of a toxic work environment on “The Tonight Show.”
The incident, chronicled in Tina Fey’s 2011 memoir “Bossypants,” was highlighted by New Yorker archive editor Erin Overbey, who emphasized that Fey’s account solidly portrayed Fallon’s behavior.
The episode was part of what Fey describes as a series of affectionate anecdotes about Poehler. It occurred early in Poehler’s tenure during her debut season, which began with the first “SNL” episode after the 9/11 attacks. In the midst of a Wednesday readthrough, Poehler engaged in playful banter with Seth Meyers, injecting a bit of risqué humor. Fallon, who Fey notes was “the show’s leading figure at the time,” took exception and, with feigned discomfort, reprimanded Poehler, saying, “Stop that! It’s not cute! I don’t like it.” Poehler responded with unwavering resolve, “I don’t (expletive) care if you like it,” momentarily startling Fallon before seamlessly returning to her comedic bit.
Fey adds in an aside that wasn’t part of the viral tweet, clarifying that “Jimmy and Amy are very good friends and there was never any real beef between them.”
A recent Rolling Stone investigation shed light on the experiences of current and former employees of the NBC talk show, detailing struggles with mental health, alleged intimidation from higher-ups, including the 48-year-old Fallon, and mistreatment attributed to the host’s erratic conduct.
Fallon, whose late-night show has been on hiatus due to Hollywood’s actors and writers strikes, addressed the report in a virtual meeting after its publication. During the call, he expressed, “I want this show to be fun. It should be inclusive for everybody, it should be funny, it should be the best show, the best people. I just wanted to… say, I miss you guys,” according to a “Tonight Show” staff member who was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.