During the height of the 2016 election, comedian Jimmy Fallon once opted to actually be a late-night host instead of a partisan spokesman by having then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on his show for a few jokes. One hilarious bit, in which he ruffled Trump’s infamous hair, sparked ire from leftists, supposedly for making the candidate more relatable. Shock jock Howard Stern says the hate Fallon got at the time was simply nonsense.
According to The Hollywood Reporter (THR), Stern appeared on “The Tonight Show” Wednesday to promote his new book, “Howard Comes Again,” where he told Jimmy Fallon that the messing up Donald Trump’s hair bit was funny and appropriate.
“I truly do believe you’re such a great talent. I write about this in the book,” he told Fallon. “I don’t know if you want me talking about it or what, but I talk about Jimmy. Jimmy was quite distraught when you had Donald Trump on and you had that whole incident where you rubbed his head.”
“I had said to Jimmy, ‘It is absolutely absurd that anyone would lay a trip on you. I would do the same bit,'” said Stern. “Everyone was curious what was going on in that bird’s nest, and you wanted to sit there and see. I thought the bit was fantastic. I think people tried to blame you or say, ‘Hey, Jimmy got Donald Trump elected,’ this or that.”
Howard said he told Fallon at the time that the backlash would blow over and it eventually did. That being said, Fallon eventually caved to the mob when he issued his own apology for making anyone mad.
“I did not do it to ‘normalize’ him or to say I believe in his political beliefs or any of that stuff,” Fallon told THR’s Scott Feinberg in 2018, adding that the backlash “just got bigger and out of control.”
“I saw other comedians from other shows making fun of me on Twitter, and I go, ‘OK, now I’m just gonna get off,'” Fallon continued at the time. “They know the show. I’m just doing five hours a week. I get in at 10 in the morning, I work ’til seven at night and I’m just trying to make a funny show. I’m sorry. I don’t want to make anyone angry — I never do and I never will. It’s all in the fun of the show. I made a mistake. I’m sorry if I made anyone mad. And, looking back, I would do it differently.”
President Trump scolded the late-night host for the apology, saying that Jimmy Fallon actually boasted to him about the night’s ratings. The president tweeted: “@jimmyfallon is now whimpering to all that he did the famous ‘hair show’ with me (where he seriously messed up my hair), & that he would have now done it differently because it is said to have ‘humanized’ me-he is taking heat. He called & said ‘monster ratings.’ Be a man Jimmy!”
Speaking with THR earlier this week, Stern said that he appreciates President Trump personally, but not politically.