Jimmy Fallon was trending on Twitter for much of Tuesday, often with the #JimmyFallonIsOverParty hashtag, due to a resurfaced clip from a 2000 episode of SNL where he appears in blackface as Chris Rock. The Tonight Show host, who is off this week, has since apologized for the impression, calling it “unquestionably offensive.”
“In 2000, while on SNL, I made a terrible decision to do an impersonation of Chris Rock while in blackface. There is no excuse for this,” Fallon wrote on Twitter. “I am very sorry for making this unquestionably offensive decision and thank all of you for holding me accountable.” In the clip, which is not available on NBC’s website, Fallon-as-Rock explains to Regis Philbin (Darrell Hammond) that there aren’t many black people on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? because “black folks don’t want to answer questions.” Via Variety:
The clip began to resurface when a tweet by the user @chefboyohdear stated, “NBC fired Megyn Kelly for mentioning blackface. Jimmy Fallon performed on NBC in blackface.” Kelly, the former Fox News anchor [who] had a tumultuous run at NBC where she hosted her own hour of the Today show on a $69 million contract, [departed] from the network after she faced severe criticism for a conversation about wearing blackface on Halloween. The network publicly condemned Kelly for the controversy, and cancelled her show, Megyn Kelly Today, in fall of 2018.
Rememeber when Fred Armisen played Obama? That was weird!
Anyway, the Fallon scandal is reminiscent of an SNL sketch from 2019, “State Meeting,” where a state ethics official played by Kenan Thompson asks a group of (white) “Virginia state representatives” whether they’ve ever dressed in blackface. When one member of the group says that it doesn’t count if you did it in the 1980s because it was “funny and cool” then, Thompson responds, “It does still count, and it was never funny or cool.”
In 2000, while on SNL, I made a terrible decision to do an impersonation of Chris Rock while in blackface. There is no excuse for this.
I am very sorry for making this unquestionably offensive decision and thank all of you for holding me accountable.
— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) May 26, 2020