Jimmy Fallon’s favorite ‘Tonight Show’ moments include Cardi B, Hillary Clinton

Cue The Roots: We’re headed behind the scenes with Jimmy Fallon, live from his Rockefeller Center studio.

The late-night host, a four-year veteran of “The Tonight Show,” stuck around after a taping earlier this month to divulge his favorite moments, sketches, guests and more with the talk show’s writing team.

Piling eight directors’ chairs onto “The Tonight Show’s” stage — which is far smaller than one would expect — Fallon looked back upon the array of talent that’s graced it within the past few years, from Hillary Clinton to Miley Cyrus, the cast of “This Is Us” and New York City’s own Cardi B.

“What’s great about New York City, is we have all this great talent to work with,” Fallon said during the panel. “Whether it be in stand-up, actors or theater, we’ll call and say, ‘Hey, do you mind dressing up as E.T. and sexually dancing by a Christmas tree? Don’t ask us why, it’s for a sketch,’ and people will do it.”

The comedian turned host’s series solidified its place in the late-night realm with sketches that often trend toward the social media sphere. Breaking the bounds of traditional interviews, Fallon’s NYC subway busking surprises, lip sync battles and cover tracks with resident “Tonight Show” band The Roots are among the most popular.

“There’s a lot of sad news out there we could talk about, and we like to get away from it and let everyone escape for a little bit,” the host explained.

Below, Fallon reflects on some of his most memorable guests, sketches and more from the 2016 through 2018 seasons.

“Two Goats In a Boat”

Not all of Fallon’s sketches make their debuts on the big screen. The popular “Two Goats In a Boat” sketch appeared on the show’s Instagram page on June 1, but quickly became one of his favorites. The rhyming skit featured Lin-Manuel Miranda of “Hamilton,” two “goats” and, well, you know the rest.


Fallon explained: “I just texted him and I was like, ‘Do you want to do a bit together tomorrow for Instagram? I’ll shave my beard into a goatee and we’ll do two goats on a boat.’ His text back to me was, ‘WTF is two goats on a boat and by that I mean I’m in.’” Fallon grabbed props from his house for the video shoot — including two tote bags, winter coats and “Hall and Oates” albums — and asked his wife to hold the camera for the impromptu shoot.

Cardi B, in a league of her own

Cardi B’s first “Tonight Show” appearance on Dec. 20, 2017, introduced more than 20 million people to the Bronx-born rapper’s signature sound effects — once only known well by her Instagram followers and loyal fans. Fallon — clearly taken aback by her willingness to interject with a random “okurrr” — said he was shocked by the rapper’s personality and comfort onstage. So much so that he invited her back on April 9 to serve as his co-host.


“I had never met Cardi B before. She was really, really interesting, I don’t know if I’ve ever met anyone like her. A lot of sound effects. I was like, where are we in this interview?” he recalled.

While carrying out her co-hosting duties, Fallon said she rehearsed in her bathrobe and “flashed us at one point.”

“All while pregnant, too. She was taking naps in between rehearsals,” he added.

NYC Girl Scout surprise

The leader of Girl Scout Troop 6000, New York’s first homeless troop, was presented with a $50,000 check from JCPenney and a $6,000 check from “The Tonight Show” while sitting in on a taping on Dec. 22, 2017. Giselle Burgess, of Queens, was brought to tears when she realized Fallon planned for her two daughters to come out from behind the seating area for the massive surprise after she’d been “randomly” selected to win an ugly Christmas sweater.


“She just thought we got her tickets to the show, so she was psyched for that,” Fallon said. “Her two daughters delivered the check and it was just tears. It was so awesome. She was so happy to be here, then she got a sweater and we were like, it’s a lot better than the sweater, trust me. That was an awesome moment.”

“Thank you,” Clinton

Nearly one year after losing the election to now-President Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton sat down on Fallon’s couch and he surprised her with “thank you” letters read aloud by seven of the show’s writers. Rounding out the skit was the night’s musical guest, Miley Cyrus.


“You’ve been a role model and a voice of reason in uncertain times,” the “Malibu” singer read through tears on Oct. 4, 2017.

“Miley started crying. It was so emotional,” Fallon said. The sketch may have been pre-planned, but the emotion was raw. “We have these emotional moments on the show where they’re not planned. We like emotion, but it’s almost like you feel it or you don’t; you can’t fake it.”

A military homecoming for the holidays

Fallon pulling off a surprise for “Tonight Show” production coordinator Karina Kabalan was actually a serious feat. He enlisted the help of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on Dec. 8, 2016, to shock the staffer by bringing her husband, a deployed Air Force sergeant, home for the holidays.


“She was up in the control room and had no clue. She’s the one person who’s supposed to know about everything… we went up to the sound booth and she was the only one who didn’t know,” Fallon said. “I lost it. The Rock lost it — and he’s an ugly crier! That was just a fun, fun moment.”