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Everyone Just Remembered That Time Amy Poehler Shut Down Jimmy Fallon

Amy Poehler and Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show

Amid allegations that Jimmy Fallon created a toxic work environment on The Tonight Show, everyone is remembering the moment when Amy Poehler effectively shut Fallon down. The late night host has been under scrutiny following a bombshell report in which 16 employees detailed allegations against the long-running talk show, many of which involved Fallon. In hindsight, the allegations shouldn’t have been too surprising considering that the host has been involved in his fair share of controversies in the past, including having Donald Trump on his show, performing in Blackface on SNL, and concerns over his alleged alcohol intake.

However, the allegations against The Tonight Show paint a very different picture of Fallon from what we’re used to seeing. On TV, Fallon is always light-hearted, humorous, warm, and friendly, which is part of why he’s been generally well-received as a late night host. Behind the scenes, however, former and current employees describe him as something of a Jekyll-and-Hyde figure. Fallon is allegedly prone to mood swings, and when he was in one of his bad moods, the entire set had to pay for it, walking on eggshells as they were subjected to petty and demeaning notes from the host.

After the allegations, Fallon reportedly apologized to his current employees over a Zoom call. According to employees who claimed to be present at the meeting, Fallon told them, “Sorry if I embarrassed you and your family and friends.” It remains to be seen if anything else will come from the allegations. In the meantime, many are going back over old clips of The Tonight Show or revisiting accounts of other celebrities’ interactions with Fallon, looking for hints of the behavior alleged by his employees. Which is how an old Tina Fey anecdote involving Amy Poehler and Fallon resurfaced.

Amy Poehler put Jimmy Fallon in his place

After the allegations dropped, a passage from Tina Fey’s memoir Bossypants went viral on social media. The passage details an interaction between Fallon and Poehler on the set of SNL. Fallon and Poehler both got their career starts working as cast members on the sketch comedy series, and their stints on the show overlapped from 2001 to 2004. However, the incident that captured the internet’s attention occurred early in Poehler’s career on SNL. According to Fey’s memoir, while the cast was in the writing room, Poehler did something “unladylike” and “vulgar” as part of a joke during a conversation with Seth Meyers.

For some reason, Fallon got involved, whining that he didn’t like what she was doing and that she needed to stop because “it’s not cute.” Fortunately, Poehler shot back at him, “I don’t f—ing care if you like it.” Fey described Fallon as startled, but highlighted the importance of that moment as Poehler made it clear that she wouldn’t adhere to whatever the world thought was “cute” or appropriate for women. She would do what she wanted and couldn’t care less what Fallon or anyone else thought.

It’s easy to see why this passage is going viral. Not only is it such a powerful moment for Poehler and a strong example that women’s lives should not be dictated by what men think is “cute,” but it also gives a bit of insight into Fallon. After all, if there’s any truth to the allegations against him, Fallon seems to be, well, a whiny little crybaby who pitches a fit when he doesn’t get his way and couldn’t handle his staff having a good time if he wasn’t having a good time as well. He also seems a little cowardly, considering that he allegedly picked on his staffers and employees, knowing they couldn’t fight back for fear of termination. Plus, all of the alleged passive-aggressive and childish insults, like writing “Ugh, lame” as feedback to his writers, make him seem kind of like an immature dork—again, not terribly surprising.

Meanwhile, all it took was a single look and statement from Poehler to dismantle Fallon entirely and put him in his place. He might try presenting himself as this big boss who can demean his workers behind the scenes on The Tonight Show, but Poehler seemingly proved that he’s just full of it.

This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the work being covered here wouldn’t exist.

(featured image: NBC)

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Rachel Ulatowski is an SEO writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, YA literature, celebrity news, and coming-of-age films. She has over two years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.