Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show rocked by toxic workplace allegations

THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 1842 -- Pictured: Host Jimmy Fallon during the monologue on Friday, April 28, 2023 -- (Photo by: Rosalind O’Connor/NBC)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 1842 -- Pictured: Host Jimmy Fallon during the monologue on Friday, April 28, 2023 -- (Photo by: Rosalind O’Connor/NBC) /

According to a new report, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon has a workplace environment defined by bullying and anxiety. Staffers claim that much of the toxicity stems from Jimmy Fallon’s behavior.

Speaking to Rolling Stone, 16 current and former Tonight Show staff members discussed behind-the-scenes drama at the NBC program. Showrunners and higher-ups at the Tonight Show allegedly created a bullying, toxic environment. Specifically, former showrunner Jamie Granet-Bederman was called out by multiple former staffers.

One former employee claimed “they are the worst bosses I’ve ever had in my life. They use that position of power to bully and treat the staff that way, and the network is aware of how they treat people. They not only continue to enable it, but they reward it.”

Former employees also revealed that their mental health suffered because of the workplace environment at The Tonight Show. “Mentally, I was in the lowest place of my life. I didn’t want to live anymore. I thought about taking my own life all the time,” another former staff member said. “I knew deep down I would never actually do it, but in my head, I’m like, ‘Why do I think about this all the time?’”

The Tonight Show has experienced a rotating door of showrunners in the past few years. The one-time late-night TV leader found itself slipping in the ratings to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel Live! during the Trump years. It appears that no changes at the show’s leadership improved working conditions for the employees who spoke to Rolling Stone.

Jimmy Fallon’s behavior called ‘erratic’ by former employees

The Tonight Show employees past and present who interviewed with Rolling Stone also had harsh words for host Jimmy Fallon. According to the employees, Fallon’s behavior often set the tone behind the scenes.

Describing it as erratic, they mentioned being afraid of Fallon’s “outbursts,” inconsistent behavior, and the ever-looming threat of a “bad Jimmy day.” However, they alleged that HR did nothing to help and the nine showrunners heading up The Tonight Show over the past nine years never said “no” to Fallon.

Rolling Stone reached out to more than 50 past and present Tonight Show employees during its research for the story. The outlet claims that no one agreed to speak on the record or “had positive things to say about working on The Tonight Show.”

Those who did talk to Rolling Stone detailed how “if Jimmy is in a bad mood, everyone’s day is f***ed. People wouldn’t joke around in the office, and they wouldn’t stand around and talk to each to each other. It was very much like, focus on whatever it is that you have to do because Jimmy’s in a bad mood, and if sees that, he might fly off.”

Others revealed how Fallon’s feedback to the writers added to the toxic environment. Examples include Fallon’s passive-aggressive notes or berating staffers out of frustration.

The Tonight Show is on hiatus due to the ongoing writers’ strike. Jimmy Fallon paid the salaries of staffers for three weeks at the start of the stoppage. He currently co-hosts the podcast Strike Force Five with Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel, and John Oliver. Proceeds from the podcast go towards the hosts’ out-of-work staffers.