Monday night was an emotional one for The Tonight Show, as Jimmy Fallon returned for his first broadcast since his mother, Gloria Fallon, died, on November 4th. She was 68.
“As some of you know, my mother, Gloria, passed away recently,” he said, at the beginning of the show. “She was the best audience. She was the one I was always trying to make laugh. She was such a fan of the show, and everything I did.”
Choking back tears, Fallon told a story that broke the hearts of everyone watching.
“When we were little, my mom 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,'” he said. “And last week, I was in the hospital and I grabbed her hand and squeezed, ‘I love you,’ and I just knew we were in trouble.”
It was a rare moment of vulnerability for the comedian and talk show host, who is usually indefatigably cheerful. Despite his recent loss, Fallon ended the tribute with love and gratitude.
“I feel so grateful to be able to do this every single night and I’m very appreciative of all of the support from all of you that my family received over the past week. We’re going to continue to work really hard to bring some light and some laughter into the world…Mom, I’ll never stop trying to make you laugh, I love you.”
His mother would be so proud.
In yet another touching moment of the night, Taylor Swift made a surprise appearance to perform her new piano ballad, “New Year’s Day.” The song, as it happens, includes a lyric that reads, “You squeeze my hand three times in the back of the taxi/I can tell it’s gonna be a long road.”
After the show was over, producer Mike DiCenzo tweeted that when they asked Taylor to perform on the show on a whim, she agreed with “zero hesitation.” No one had heard the song yet, so when she sang that particular line, everyone was wrecked.
She sang “New Year’s Day.” No one had heard it. Suddenly she sings the line, “Squeeze my hand 3 times in the back of the taxi.” I nearly gasped. Tears. I think everyone in the audience started sobbing.
— Mike DiCenzo (@mikedicenzo) November 14, 2017
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