Current and former employees of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” are claiming the NBC production has been a “toxic workplace” for years and the show’s host repeatedly engaged in “erratic behavior” that left staffers in constant fear.
According to a Rolling Stone report, two current and 14 former employees said the show’s working environment has been “far outside the boundaries” of what one would consider normal in the high-pressure television landscape.
“It’s a bummer because it was my dream job,” one former employee said. “Writing for late night is a lot of people’s dream jobs, and they’re coming into this, and it becomes a nightmare very quickly. It’s sad that it’s like that, especially knowing that it doesn’t have to be that way.”
The anonymous sources said the “ugly” behind-the-scenes environment began at the top, with Fallon displaying “erratic” behavior that led to constant shake-ups in the show’s leadership teams.
Former employees said they were “belittled and intimidated” by their bosses, including Fallon himself. They recalled the “pretty glum atmosphere” left staffers worried about Fallon’s “outbursts” and “unexpected, inconsistent” behavior.
Employees remembered one particular day in 2017 when Fallon stumbled through rehearsal and acted “dismissive” and “irritable” during production. The employees surmised Fallon was drunk when he seemed to forget he had crossed out jokes on a sheet of paper.
“Nobody told Jimmy, ‘No.’ Everybody walked on eggshells, especially showrunners,” another former employee said. “You never knew which Jimmy we were going to get and when he was going to throw a hissy fit. Look how many showrunners went so quickly. We know they didn’t last long.”
Despite many employees voicing their concerns in HR complaints, problems allegedly continued.