Live from the Union ... It's Jimmy Fallon!

Jimmy Fallon


By Grant Widmer
Revelry Contributor

Sound the alarm. Jimmy Fallon is breaking out. For those just awakening from hibernation, the "Saturday Night Live" star has been smirking his way to fame and fortune aboard the popular sketch-comedy show, and lucky for us, that voyage leads him to the Union Theater on Sunday at 4:00 p.m. for a comedy bonanza worthy of top billing.

For three years now, Fallon has been sharpening his comedic chops on the New York City set of NBC's "Saturday Night Live." Someone should warn him about walking around with those razor-sharp chops. Now that Fallon's dues have been paid and indelibly tallied in the "accounts received" column, he is ready to take on the world_one Saturday night at a time.

"This season has been crazy," Fallon said.

And that's no joke. Ever since Fallon commandeered the "Weekend Update" anchor desk on the show, he can barely find time to comb his hair like Johnny Depp.

"We knew Colin [Quinn] wasn't coming back, so [SNL producer] Lorne [Michaels] called me up and asked me to audition for anchor," said Fallon of his "Update" update. "Originally, I said `no.' I didn't know anything about the news."

When push came to shove, Fallon did audition. Michaels offered him the job, and he accepted_on the condition that SNL writer and friend Tina Fey would co-anchor the sketch. Micheals agreed and the Fallon-Fey administration was born.

How does Fallon feel about his decision to take the job now?

"It was the greatest move," he said. "Now I read the paper every day. I know who John Ashcroft is!"

Think Fallon's anchor role means he can take it easy for the rest of the show? Think again.

Fallon is one of the most in-demand cast members in the SNL lineup, and he's just getting warmed up. He has spawned two recurring sketches, the most popular of which has him playing the cynical tech-nerd in "Nick Burns, Your Company's Computer Guy." Fallon fans embrace Nick Burns' hilariously condescending demeanor, fostering the notion that it might as well be called "Nick Burns, Your Fix of Jimmy Fallon until Weekend Update."

The sketch's popularity has left fans wondering if and when "Nick Burns" will find its way onto the silver screen. Rest assured. Fallon has no plans for a box office black eye like Molly Shannon's "Superstar" or Tim Meadows' "The Lady's Man."

"Never," promised Fallon of the chances of a sketch-based feature film. "I like Nick Burns as a sketch character. You won't see me in one of those."

And smart! Does Fallon know something that lesser cast members-turned-movie stars didn't? He must. With a chameleon-like ability to impersonate anyone from Chris Rock to Howard Stern, who would blame him for falling into the same pitfalls of previous impression-wizards Dana Carvey and Joe Piscopo?

Not so fast. Not only do Fallon's ambitions transcend the impression shtick, his ambitions transcend the genre of comedy altogether.

As the success-driven manager of "Stillwater" in Cameron Crowe's "Almost Famous," Fallon was more dramatic than the Showcase Showdown_ all five of Barker's Beauties agree. "Famous" won Crowe a best director Golden Globe and Fallon won respect as a serious actor.

The film made Fallon famous, almost, but more importantly gave him a steady foundation for a solid acting career. From there he accepted another serious role in the yet-to-be-released Tom Hanks' HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers," in which Fallon plays a World War II soldier.

"[Hanks] is the coolest guy in the world," said Fallon of the "Castaway" star. "He's got a good eye for things, and he really made me feel at home."

As for the future of Fallon's acting career, he promises to appear in a few comedies soon.

"I'm gonna do both," said Fallon of his comedy-drama double life. "But for now I'm concentrating on the show [SNL]."

Concentrating, but not hard enough to prevent him from embarking on a tour of stand-up gigs, LSU among them.

"Jimmy! Jimmy! Jimmy!" beckoned the stand-up spotlight. Or was that noise coming from the crowd of girls huddled around Fallon's dressing room door, eager for a glimpse of the star? Either way, Fallon answered the call eagerly.

Fallon promises a good time at Sunday's performance. Tickets are still available, but going fast.

"It's going to be fun," Fallon said, setting the expectation bar low only to leap-frog it with his eyes closed. "I'm really out to put on a good show."

Fear not, attendants. The paramedics have been specially trained to alleviate side stitches and unfold anyone doubled over in hysterics.

As for the short-term, Fallon won't be letting any grass grow under his feet. He will record a CD of his comedy including original songs later this year. Can a young star be any busier? Not likely.

"I've got to go to a run-through in about thirty minutes," Fallon said, alluding to the rehearsal for a 20-minute SNL installment that will air Thursday on NBC after "Friends" and opposite CBS's "Survivor 2."

Go, Jimmy, go.