#JimmyFallonIsOverParty started trending early this morning, after old footage of the talk show host wearing blackface surfaced late Monday night. The video was taken from an episode of Saturday Night Live, where Fallon was playing Chris Rock in a Regis Philbin sketch. The episode original aired in 2000. Now, Jimmy Fallon has issued a formal apology for the sketch.
"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 is doing an impression of Chris Rock, acting against Darrell Hammond as Regis Philbin. Not much was made of the sketch at the time it aired live on Saturday Night Live back in 2000, before the comedian officially left the perennial comedy show. Jimmy Fallon is the lasted in a long line of performers or entertainers who are now being held accountable for things that they did in the past.
Megyn Kelly was fired from NBC for her controversial comments about blackface. And Sarah Silverman was fired from a movie after video of her donning blackface in a 2007 episode of The Sarah Silverman Show started to make the rounds.
Jimmy Fallon hasn't been a part of the SNL cast since 2004. He would later take over for Conan O'Brien on Late Night before becoming the host of The Tonight Show. At this time, NBC has no comment about the blackface sketch. It's not clear if the sketch has ever appeared on any of the many SNL video releases over the years.
Eddie Murphy famously donned white face for an SNL sketch in the '80s called 'White Like Me', and plays a white character in Coming to America, though he has not been taking to task for his portrayal of caucasian caricatures. Robert Downey Jr. also seems to get a pass for donning blackface in Tropic Thunder, which he recently talked about on Joe Rogen. The Wayan Brothers also got a pass for dressing as two caucasian college co-eds in the comedy White Chicks. Jimmy Kimmel is another comedian who hasn't caught much heat for donning blackface in sketches from The Man Show.
Marlon Wayans was actually one of the few comedians to come to Jimmy Fallon's defense. He had this to say about his friend donning blackface.
"This #jimmyfallonisoverparty is dumb as hell. @jimmyfallon is truly one of the nicest guys I've known in our industry. Y'all stop digging up old shit. Go find a new tree to piss on. This one is clean."
Chris Rock himself has not yet weighed in on this matter. He was also an SNL cast member who appeared on the show from 1990 until 1993. Fallon didn't join the cast until 1998, so they were never on the show together.