Jimmy Fallon to take ‘The Tonight Show’ on the road — to Chicago
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Jimmy Fallon is coming back to Chicago and this time, he’s bringing “The Tonight Show” with him.
The late-night host announced on Thursday’s program that he’ll broadcast his NBC chatfest from Chicago thanks to a deal he sealed with Rahm Emanuel when the mayor was a guest on “The Tonight Show” in June. Emanuel had used his not-so-subtle powers of persuasion to make Fallon promise — over a handshake on national TV — to bring the show to Chicago if city kids hit the books.
“A few months ago Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel came on the show and threatened me,” joked Fallon, whose supposed fear of the mayor was the genesis of their latest wager. “No, he made a friendly bet with me and said if the kids of Chicago read 2.4 million books over the summer we’d take the show there for a visit. Well the kids didn’t read 2.4 million books. They read 2.7 million books.”
“So congratulations Chicago, you’ve got some smart kids. You won the bet. We will be coming to Chicago,” Fallon added, without naming a specific date. “We’ve just got to figure out how to get everyone there. We have, like, 200 something people that have to go with us. So Rahm, if you’ve got room in your house, we’ll come and hang with you.”
Looks like Rahm is cool with Jimmy crashing at his pad:
Excited to welcome @JimmyFallon to Chicago to celebrate 2.7 million books read by our kids. Yes, Jimmy, you can stay at my house.
— ChicagosMayor (@ChicagosMayor) September 19, 2014
The mayor first lured Fallon to the Windy City in March when he goaded the former “SNL” star into joining him for a frigid dip in Lake Michigan for the Polar Plunge, an annual fundraiser for Special Olympics.
— Chicago Library (@chipublib) September 16, 2014
RELATED: Jimmy Fallon does the Polar Plunge
“You jumped in the lake at 32 degrees,” Emanuel said at a press conference earlier this week, urging Chicagoans to use the hashtag #TonightShowChi to pressure Fallon to live up to his end of the bargain. “Bringing your show here when it’s closer to about 82 degrees is much easier.”
The last time “The Tonight Show” came to town was in 1998. That’s when Fallon’s predecessor, Jay Leno, hosted a week’s worth of shows at northwest suburban Rosemont Theatre.
Leno, an unabashed fan of the Windy City, taped another week of shows in Rosemont two years earlier in 1996.
“[Chicago is] a good town for us,” Leno told the Sun-Times in 1998. “We’ve taken the show to Las Vegas, New York, Phoenix and San Antonio, but there’s no place like Chicago. It’s the only city where people bring signs. I can’t imagine L.A. or New York audiences bringing signs that say ‘Welcome, Jay.'”
Start making those “Welcome, Jimmy” signs.