US talk show host Jimmy Fallon paid tribute to his late mother on Monday night’s episode of The Tonight Show. Watch the clip below.
The comedian cancelled a week’s run of his nightly NBC chat show after his mother passed away “peacefully” on November 4. In a statement following her death, Jimmy Fallon wrote simply: “Today i lost my biggest fan.”
Last night (November 13), Fallon returned to the air – delivering an emotional speech in memory of Gloria Fallon, who he hailed “the best audience”.
Going on to recount a story from his childhood, Fallon said: “When we were little, my mum would walk us to the store – me and my sister – and we would hold hands. And she would squeeze my hand three times and say, ‘I love you,’ and I would squeeze back, ‘I love you too.’
“Last week I was in the hospital, at her side, and I grabbed her hand and I squeezed ‘I love you,’ and I just knew we were in trouble”.
After thanking fans for support, Fallon ended the speech by saying: “Mom, I’ll never stop trying to make you laugh.”
Fittingly, Taylor Swift delivered a stripped-back rendition of ‘Reputation’ track ‘New Years Day’. Show producer Mike DiCenzo later revealed on Twitter that Swift’s booking was a last minute decision.
“She was not scheduled to do our show today,” DiCenzo said. “But we wanted something special for this first show back, so we asked her on a complete whim, since she had been in town doing SNL. She said yes with zero hesitation.”
As part of a Twitter thread paying respect to Fallon’s mother, Dicenzo pointed out the poignancy of the track’s lyrics.
“Suddenly she sings the line, ‘Squeeze my hand 3 times in the back of the taxi,'” he said. “I nearly gasped. Tears. I think everyone in the audience started sobbing.”
The performance marked the first live airing of the closing track from ‘Reputation‘. See the performance above.