NEW YORK – Jimmy Fallon is a kid in a candy store.
He's chosen to meet for this interview in a Rockefeller Center chocolate shop downstairs from the Saturday Night Live studio, where he's made his name as the irreverent yin to Tina Fey's prim yang on the "Weekend Update" anchor desk. He comes here a lot, he says, because it's a quiet place to sit and read scripts, and because the hot chocolate is "absolutely perfect."
The women who work here dote on the comedian as if he were a favorite nephew, insisting that along with his usual hot chocolate, he should sample one of the new caramel cookies that just came in. He's only too happy to oblige.
He makes sure you have the hot chocolate, too. "I just can't wait 'til you try this -- you're really gonna love it," he gushes. "It's so perfect. It's like pudding, right?" (He's right -- it's yummy.)
Later, it's the same hard sell when a photographer shows up to take his picture: "Get a hot chocolate," he says. "It's UN-believable. You're gonna flip out."
The 27-year-old has that same boyish enthusiasm about everything he's doing these days -- and he is doing everything.
You can't turn on MTV without seeing Fallon singing and dancing in commercials for the MTV Video Music Awards.
You also can't miss Fallon's own video for "Idiot Boyfriend," the first song off his debut comedy album, The Bathroom Wall. In it, Fallon, a product of '80s pop culture, spoofs videos ranging from Prince's "When Doves Cry" to Bobby Brown's "Every Little Step."
MTV and MTV2 president Van Toffler said the comedian was a natural choice to host the VMAs after he co-hosted the MTV Movie Awards last year with Kirsten Dunst.
"He knows everything about contemporary pop culture, and in particular he does blow-away impressions of contemporary artists," Toffler said.
Fallon's goofy humor is vastly different from the in-your-face style of last year's host, comedian Jamie Foxx, who saw some of his harsher jokes land with a thud. But Toffler said that's not why MTV chose Fallon.
"Clearly we want this to be the last big bash of the summer, especially before the country takes on a very somber tone around the anniversary of Sept. 11, and Jimmy can be both insightful and funny and light and sincere," he said.
Fallon also just finished shooting the Woody Allen movie "Anything Else," with Jason Biggs and Christina Ricci, which is scheduled to come out next year.
Then there is his day job -- really his night job -- on Saturday Night Live.
Born in Brooklyn and raised in Saugerties, N.Y., Fallon always dreamed of being a cast member on the late-night comedy show, and has every episode on tape since 1986.
"I always said I want to be on SNL before I'm 27," he confesses. "It was almost to the point of craziness. I just thought, 'I gotta get on."'
Dana Carvey was his idol, he said, for his ability to do impressions. Fallon's own impersonations got him his start on the standup comedy circuit while he attended the College of Saint Rose in Albany. Then they got him his dream job: His Adam Sandler impression was so dead-on, it inspired SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels to hire him in 1998.
But fame has made sleep a rarity lately, Fallon said. He recently went to a resort for a weekend, just to catch up on rest.
"I'm trying to keep it cool because this is, like, a crazy month. I've never been this -- I don't know, what do you say? -- this out there since I started on SNL," he said. "I'm on every bus, and billboards and phone booths. The first couple of days, I couldn't even see it. I was like, 'I can't look at it."'
Other people clearly can, and do; fan Web sites offer Jimmy Fallon trivia quizzes and describe him as "adorable" and a "super fox."
He also landed on People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People" issue this year. Reporter Danielle Dubin, who was on the panel that chose the list, said Fallon's allure lies in his sense of humor.
"He's sexy without being threatening. He's adorable," Dubin said. "He looks like the funny guy you went to high school with who all the girls had a crush on."
In his self-deprecating fashion, Fallon said he didn't even read the "50 Most Beautiful" issue.
"I think that is like, we're running out of celebrities. I really feel like it's me and the Taco Bell dog. The guy from Survivor 3, me and, like, the Osbournes' dogs," he said. "I mean, I don't look at myself and say, 'What a dirtbag.' I go, 'OK, whatever.' I'm just a normal-looking dude who lucked out."