Years before Jimmy Fallon was playing beer pong with celebrities on The Tonight Show, he was an obscure stand-up auditioning for the short-lived sketch comedy series Dana Carvey Show by performing songs about Troll dolls as George Michael. But he never got that gig, thanks to the jealous eye of head writer Louis C.K., who threatened to quit Carvey if Fallon were hired. The two comics reminisced about the awkward encounter when C.K. visited the Tonight Show Tuesday night.
"We were auditioning people to be on the cast, and you came in," C.K. says in the clip. "And you were a young, adorable little boy. I mean, he was a grown man — I'm not a creep. But you came in and auditioned for us, me and all the producers just sitting in chairs. You came in, and you were playing guitar, and you had these little Troll dolls and were singing songs about Troll dolls. . . 'Hey, OK, here's a song about a Troll doll if Neil Diamond sang it.' And then you'd turn around and you'd wiggle your ass a little bit. You were young, and you had a tight little ass. You'd wiggle your ass. I'm just making observations. I didn't have any feelings about it — I'm just saying what I saw."
The impressions struck gold with the show's female staff members, but C.K. put his foot down. "All the women on the staff were like, 'He has to be on. That guy's going to be a huge star.' Me and Dino Stamatopoulos, a writer, were like, 'Never. Never him. I think I actually said, 'I will quit the show if you hire that kid. Absolutely not. Absolutely not.' I was dead against you. Because you had all your hair; you were in shape; you were a young kid. And I was already kind of sweaty and balding, and I was depressed. It was pure jealousy. In my head I knew, 'This is really fucked up to be doing this because this kid is really talented, but I don't want to look at him every day because it will make me upset about myself.' So I torpedoed your chances. I really, really went to bat against you."
Fallon says he can't believe C.K. "squashed [his] dreams," but the comedian – who admits Fallon was a "huge talent, a superbly talented kid" – uses twisted logic to defend himself: If he had hired him for the seven-episode Dana Carvey Show, he'd have ended up "in some ditch, with your Troll dolls and your fine ass."
C.K. also took time to reflect on his own humble beginnings as a struggling stand-up comic – even telling an emotional story about the first time he "made real money" from comedy, which took place at a club in Minneapolis.
"It was always half-full, and you pour your heart into these shows," he says. "And then they give you like 800 bucks, maybe 1,000." But on one week-long run, he managed to pack the club and was handed an envelope filled with $10,000.
"On my show, [Louie], I'm not successful," he says. "I play me with no success. It's a fantasy because I miss it. I miss struggling. You don't get that back. Now we're here, and we're on TV. . . Once you get to a certain point, you can't go back to it. Trying to get an apple pie out a vending machine on Route 40 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. . . I remember a few things exactly. I remember my daughter being born. I remember my dad spanking, and I remember working at Rumor's Comedy Club in Winnipeg."