From his early teens, Jimmy Fallon’s big dream was to star on Saturday Night Live.
That was after he gave up on the idea of being a priest…
Brought up in a Roman Catholic School in New York, Jimmy remembers watching the priests and saying, “I loved like how this priest can make people feel this good… I loved the whole idea of it. My grandfather was very religious, so I use…d to go to Mass with him at like 6:45 in the morning, serve Mass. And then you made money, too, if you did weddings and funerals.”
“You’d get like five bucks. And so I go ‘Okay, I can make money too.’ I go, ‘This could be a good deal for me.’ I thought I had the calling.”
But then he saw his mom failed attempt at being a nun.
“My dad was in Vietnam, and he was in a doo-wop group. My mom was like a total square… she was a nun for about a month, but then she was like, ‘You know what? I didn’t get the calling!’”
So Jimmy had a rethink. But as his parents were so protective, Jimmy didn’t see much of the world, recalling “Like, my parents had a fence, a chain-link fence, and my sister and I were not allowed outside it. I was only allowed to ride my bike in my backyard.”
Jimmy rode his bike around in circles, carving a dirt track in the grass: “Like Gus the polar bear at the zoo? That was me. Kids would say, ’What are you doing, man? Come out.’ I was like, ’I can’t.’ We got a rope swing. On a tree. We had to wear football helmets to ride the swing. Kids could see us. They would pull up on their bikes so they could watch the Fallon kids, so weird. You know, ’Why are you wearing football helmets?’ We’re like, ’So we don’t hit our heads!’“
Then, he began watching Saturday Night Live.
His parents would cut out the ‘rude parts’ and let him watch the rest. So, as an early teenager he got his big dream – to be on SNL.
“I wanted to be the next Dana Carvey. This was my ultimate goal. If I ever cut into a birthday cake and made a wish, I would wish to be on “Saturday Night Live.” If I threw a coin into a fountain, I would wish to be on “Saturday Night Live.” If I saw a shooting star, I would wish to be on “Saturday Night Live.”
Jimmy kept dreaming, through his college (which he left in 1995 a semester early to pursue his dream), through the next 3 years (as he practiced his stand-up comedy).
Throughout the 10 years in which he was set on being on SNL, Jimmy only had one goal. He remembers thinking “‘If I don’t make it on [the show] before I’m 25, I’m going to kill myself.’ It’s crazy. I had no other plan.”
He applied every year, with most years being rejected.
He was finally invited to audition for SNL in 1997, at 22 years old, and failed.
He auditioned again at 23 years old, and made it.
Jimmy remembers the second audition vividly: “As I was leaving, Marci Klein grabbed me and said, “That was great.” And I remember just floating out of the building. They gave you flowers in your dressing room. Do I take the flowers? I don’t think I did. Because I didn’t want them to be like, ‘This guy’s a greedy bastard.’”
In 1998, at 24 years old, he first appeared on SNL.
By 2000, he was the star of SNL.
The rest is history.
What’s your big dream?
How single minded are you to achieve one big thing?
Most people get distracted from their dreams. Or they sell themselves short. Don’t do that. Be uncompromising. Focus on your dreams and go for it. The World will thank you for it.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt