Late Night

Jimmy Fallon admits he 'regrets' not addressing Trump hair-tousling interview after backlash

It hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing for “The Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon lately.

After throwing his hat into the political arena last September when he interviewed then-GOP candidate Donald Trump, the host has been dipping in the ratings and fielding public backlash.

Now, he is ready to admit that he would have done a few things differently when it came to the 2016 Trump hair-tousling interview that was mocked endlessly on social media.

He told The New York Times in an in-depth interview the Twitter backlash that came from Trump's appearance, which many criticized as being too lighthearted, didn't initially irk him much.

“I go, I just can’t read Twitter,” he recently told The New York Times. “Then I can’t read the news. I can’t read the Internet.”

Fallon said he should have addressed the pushback and negative press he received for the interview, which took place while Trump was campaigning.

“I didn’t talk about it, and I should have talked about it,” he said. “I regret that.”

It’s a change from how Fallon previously reflected on the attention-grabbing interview when TMZ asked him about it after he hosted the Emmys shortly after his chat with the now-president.

Then, Fallon brushed off the backlash. He argued that his comedy style is not one that is particularly hard on anyone, even public figures of repute.

“Have you seen my show?” he joked when confronted by the gossip site.

But Fallon’s show has dipped in the ratings since he went easy on Trump, especially as other late night hosts like Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers and Jimmy Kimmel pivoted to decidedly anti-Trump content.

According to The New York Post, Fallon has lost to Colbert’s “Late Show” for the past 15 consecutive weeks in ratings. However, “The Tonight Show” still holds a commanding lead in the coveted 18-49 demographic for advertisers. While Fallon's show is still in terrific shape, that lead is not nearly as commanding as it once was.

Still, Fallon doesn’t want to change his style. He told The Times neither the backlash nor the ratings, which he claims not to follow or care about, will affect his show.

“I don’t want to be bullied into not being me, and not doing what I think is funny,” Fallon said. “Just because some people bash me on Twitter, it’s not going to change my humor or my show.”

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