Jimmy Fallon (Nearly) Played Beer Pong With the Pope: "We Came Close"

For the better part of a decade, Jimmy Fallon had been trying to book his idol, Bob Dylan, to sit opposite him on late night. This season, he finally snagged the iconic rocker for The Tonight Show thanks to the pitch to sneak a private performance of the Big Apple Circus — one that left him sitting alone in the arena next to two whiskey glasses wondering if Dylan was ever really there. (Turns out Dylan, who Fallon thought loved the big top, wasn’t into the circus so much as he just liked the idea.)

“He could not have been nicer, he matched my energy — and got me a present,” Fallon told Rambling Reporter during a recent in-studio interview, revealing that the gift was an original poster of White Heat, a 1949 black-and-white film starring James Cagney. “He’s one of those magical, cool dudes. He was wearing a white blazer and he floated off at the end like an angel.”

Now that he’s booked his white whale, who’s next on Fallon’s wish list? The pope and Queen Elizabeth.

“We came close to having the Pope on the show,” Fallon admits. “We pitched him beer pong or something, but something made him back out last second.” As for her majesty, Fallon knows he’d likely have to travel to London, but he’s up for the cross-Atlantic trek. “I love the queen so much. We could have fun together, it doesn’t have to be beer pong. She won’t forget it, I can tell you that.” 

A version of this story first appeared in the June 5 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.