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After Hosting The Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel Reveals Biggest Takeaway From Swapping Places With Jimmy Fallon

Jimmy Kimmel on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
(Image credit: ABC)

While millions of TV viewers no doubt thought that their eyes were messing with them in the moment, Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon really did swap hosting desks as a prank for this year's April Fool’s Day episodes. The switch wasn’t permanent, of course, but it did give Jimmy Kimmel a great idea to enhance the set of Jimmy Kimmel Live!

In a recent interview with Variety for the Awards Circuit Podcast, Jimmy Kimmel revealed his biggest takeaway from swapping places with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show. But if you're thinking it was some deeply emotional feeling, that wasn't exactly the case. Kimmel said: 

Jimmy [Fallon] had some really good shelves under his desk at The Tonight Show, And so I had to build me a couple of shelves under my desk. I don’t know why we never thought of shelves, but it’s really been a major improvement in the show!

Turns out this tale of two Jimmys had another benefit — aside from, of course, the hilarity of the swap itself. Who would have thought something as simple as out-of-sight shelves could make such a big impression on Kimmel after nearly 20 years of hosting his own show? It’s probably much more convenient to stash coffee mugs, records, mobile devices, and other fun props that the hosts regularly handle during episodes. 

According to Jimmy Kimmel, the epic April Fool’s day prank had been suggested a few years before. However, COVID-19 effectively stopped that idea in its tracks (and Jimmy Kimmel had his own run-in with the virus). So just think: Kimmel could have come across this whole desk-shelf idea years before we did. Probably not the biggest COVID-related detriment. 

Once it became somewhat safer to travel, Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon decided to not only swap desks, but swap coasts entirely: the former flew to the Big Apple, and the latter made a pit stop in sunny California. Both of the late-night staples drew millions of viewers, so tons of households around the country got to be in on the joke. Both swapped episodes also featured the Red Hot Chili Peppers as a musical guest. 

Even with so many people involved, Jimmy Kimmel’s team was able to avoid spoiling the surprise. The studio audiences were not told about the switch beforehand, leading to a hilarious reaction from viewers on both sides of the United States. Jimmy Kimmel joked that some people often mistook him for Jimmy Fallon anyway, but it was clear that the audiences knew exactly who was sitting behind the desk on April 1. 

This cooperation between late night talk shows hosts may not have been possible just a few years ago. Variety reported that Jimmy Kimmel had openly disliked Jay Leno, and the competition between hosts had made it difficult to find famous guests. Luckily, the late night hosting landscape has changed, making it easy for Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon to walk in the other’s shoes. Jimmy Kimmel will also swap hosting duties for The Man Show, with Joe Rogan stepping into the spot Kimmel held years ago

Jimmy Kimmel Live! is now airing on ABC on weeknights at 8 pm EST, while new episodes of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon are airing on NBC. You can catch past installments of Jimmy Kimmel Live! with your Hulu subscription, or check out these upcoming TV releases set to arrive in 2022. 

Actor, singer, and occasional dancer. Likes: fashion, books, old buildings. Dislikes: cilantro, the NJ Turnpike, sneaker wedges.