The venerable “Tonight Show” celebrates its 60th anniversary on Sept. 27, after debuting as “Tonight Starring Steve Allen” in 1954. Over the late-night program’s long history, it has had just six hosts, starting with Allen and continuing with Jack Paar (1957-’62), Johnny Carson (1962-’92), Jay Leno (1992-2009, 2010-2014) and Conan O’Brien (2009-2010), with Jimmy Fallon the latest heir to the throne, starting this week.
Fallon, of course, has honed his skills for five years on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” the 12:30 NBC time slot which also spawned David Letterman and Conan, and before that, as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” from 1998 to 2004, where he created such memorable characters as Pat “Sully” Sullivan, a rambunctious Boston Teen, Jarret, a stoner with his own webcam, and Joey Mack, an obnoxious radio DJ who takes the part of various station personnel. He also served as co-anchor of the show’s “Weekend Update” segment with Tina Fey, starting in Oct. 2000.
To celebrate JImmy Fallon’s ascension to host of the “Tonight Show,” Streampix offers the following series of his 10 best moments on “SNL.”
Season 24 Episode 2 (Oct. 3, 1998): Newcomer Fallon makes his series debut in the segment “KCF Shredders” as a teen who touts the hip lettuce snacker for his generation in this infomercial spoof for the show hosted by Kelsey Grammar with musical guest Sheryl Crow.
Season 24. Episode 4 (Oct. 24, 1998): Fallon introduces his hilarious Adam Sandler impression during a “Celebrity Jeopardy” bit with host Ben Stiller playing Tom Cruise and Darrell Hammond’s brilliant take on an oblivious Sean Connery. Alanis Morissette was the musical guest.
Season 24, Episode 6 (Nov. 14, 1998): Fallon does French Stewart opposite host Joan Allen on a talk-show helmed by Cheri Oteri as Jennifer Tilly, while hauling out his expert Jerry Steinfeld imitation for “Tarmac Show,” as a guest braving a windy airport, with musical guest Jewel.
Season 24, Episode 9 (Dec. 12, 1998): In an eerie premonition, host Alec Baldwin is visited by Ghost of “SNL” Past John Goodman, who offers a glimpse of Jimmy Fallon hosting a show in 2011 (which actually happened!) and proceeds to mock him. Luciano Pavarotti and Vanessa Williams are musical guests.
Season 25, Episode 5 (Nov. 13, 1999): Fallon introduces his Pat “Sully” Sullivan character in a “Boston Teens” sketch with Rachel Dratch as his girlfriend Denise McDenna, who tries to get a job at Hillsjore Farms in this Garth Brooks-hosted episode in which his alter ego Chris Gaines is musical guest.
Season 26, Episode 1 (Oct. 7. 2000): Fallon makes his debut as co-anchor of “Weekend Update” in a segment which includes Tim Meadows as Ladies Man Leon Phelps, a Tina Fey rant on Britney Spears along with a pair of aging rappers played by Harry Minor and Horatio Sanz lauding newcomer Eminem (the show’s musical guest) in this Rob Lowe-hosted episode.
Season 29, Episode 2 (Oct. 11, 2003): Fallon is Nick Lachey and host/musical guest Justin Timberlake plays Jessica Simpson in drag, trying to explain she’s not as stupid as she’s been made out to be.
Season 29, Episode 20 (May 15, 2004): In Fallon’s last show, he and Will Forte try to make it up to Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen for missing their prom to host “SNL.” Fallon’s obnoxious DJ Joey Mack pretends the Olsen twins are farting and, along with Chris Parnell, appears in the final installment of “The Broder Brothers,” meeting twin sisters (Rachel Dratch and Amy Poehler) in a bar, unaware that they previously tried to pick them up as teenagers (the Olsens). The farewell to Fallon takes the form of a “Grease” parody.
Season 37, Episode 10 (Dec. 17, 2011): Fallon earned a Primetime Emmy as Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his return to host “SNL.” For his monologue, he dances through the studio halls singing “Christmastime (Coming Home Again).” He also shows his range by playing Regis Philbin and Justin Bieber (in a duet with musical guest Michael Buble), then contemplates his hosting skills with his mirror image (Andy Samberg). He does an Astaire-Rogers routine with Kristen Wiig, then gets pitted with Tina Fey in a “Weekend Update Joke-Off” with Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler. Fallon plays Ludwig Van Beethoven, introducing members of his back-up band.
Season 39, Episode 10 (Dec. 21, 2013): Fallon hosts with musical guest Justin Timberlake, pulling out his impressions of David Bowie, Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney doing Christmas carols, only to be joined by the latter on-stage. Fallon and Timberlake reprise “The Barry Gibb Talk Show,” when the real Barry Gibb and Madonna show up to chat. Fallon joins Cecily Strong in a tribute to “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” as he tries to get her out the door.