Following the publication of a profile alleging that the working conditions at The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon are toxic, which included one story from a former employee about an interaction involving Jerry Seinfeld, the Seinfeld star denied the claim involving him. In the story, 16 current and former employees spoke out against Jimmy Fallon, and told stories about their time working on the show. Now, Seinfeld has responded to one that involved him, claiming the allegation is “stupid.”
The Rolling Stone story explains that two employees remember Jimmy Fallon scolding the crew member who was in charge of his cue cards while they were taping a bit with Jerry Seinfeld. According to those people, the moment was uncomfortable. Apparently, the Seinfeld star told the host to “apologize to the cue-card production member,” which he reportedly did. One anonymous former employee elaborated on what they saw, explaining:
It was very awkward, and Jerry [Seinfeld] was like, ‘You should apologize to him,’ almost trying to make it a joke. It was one of the strangest moments ever and so many people were there, so it’s kind of hard to forget.
After that, the story said representatives for Seinfeld didn’t respond. However, after the Rolling Stone piece was published, the comedian issued a statement denying the claims. His words were published in an update, and he wrote:
This is so stupid. I remember this moment quite well… I teased Jimmy about a flub, and we all had a fun laugh about how rarely Jimmy is thrown off. It was not uncomfortable at all. Jimmy and I still occasionally recall it and laugh. Idiotic twisting of events.
Jerry Seinfeld, who was one of Fallon’s first guests when he started hosting The Tonight Show, has appeared on it many times since to do stand-up, play games and chat with the host as a guest. The talk show host also does an impression of Seinfeld which is very well known. It seems that this interaction published in Rolling Stone is not what Seinfeld remembers at all.
However, along with the claims about Fallon during this interaction with Seinfeld, many other employees spoke up about various interactions and experiences they’ve had that made their time working at The Tonight Show bad. Two current and 14 former employees spoke to Rolling Stone about working for Fallon and the talk show, saying it’s been “a toxic workplace for years.”
These employees claimed this environment started at the “top with Fallon’s erratic behavior, and has trickled down.” One former worker described what it was like working there as a “pretty glum atmosphere.” They also explained that many were afraid of the hosts’s “outbursts” and unpredictable behavior.
Before this Rolling Stone story was published, a staffer called out Jimmy Fallon for claiming he supported his writers during the WGA strike when he apparently didn't go to the meeting where they were told NBC wouldn't be paying them anymore. This was the beginning of the strike, since then Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, John Oliver and Fallon, started a podcast, Strike Force Five, to raise money to pay their staff during the strikes. About a week after this podcast started, the Rolling Stone article came out.
This claim about how Jimmy Fallon acted in the presence of Jerry Seinfeld, which Seinfeld denied, is one of many stories from ex and current employees of the late-night talk show. At the time of this writing, Fallon and The Tonight Show have not responded to the Rolling Stone article. As this situation develops, we’ll be sure to keep you posted.