Jimmy Fallon says people 'have a right to be mad' about Trump interview

'I almost did it to minimize him. I didn’t think that would be a compliment: 'He did the thing that we all wanted to do''

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The Independent Culture

The hand of The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon, outstretched and gently ruffling Donald Trump's toupée. 

It's an image that's aged extremely poorly, when looked back through the lens of a crumbling White House and a country in chaos, though many at the time already criticised Fallon for "humanising a monster" by inviting the then-Republican candidate on his show.

Fallon, certainly, hasn't gone by without feeling the consequences of his actions. The host's determination to remain apolitical has grown increasingly at odds with the country's general heightened sense of politicisation, and The Tonight Show ratings have suffered as a consequence. 

Stephen Colbert's regular, pointed takedowns of Trump on The Late Show has seen the programme's ratings soar, closing what was once a gap of nearly one million viewers and now even regularly surpassing The Tonight Show in the weekly ratings. 

Speaking to The New York Times, it seems Fallon is starkly aware of the changing public attitude towards him, commenting: "They have a right to be mad. If I let anyone down, it hurt my feelings that they didn't like it. I got it."

“I didn’t do it to humanize him,” Mr. Fallon explained of his motivation. “I almost did it to minimize him. I didn’t think that would be a compliment: 'He did the thing that we all wanted to do.'"

However, it doesn't seem as if the host has any plans to change his tactics in the near future. "I don’t want to be bullied into not being me, and not doing what I think is funny," he added. "Just because some people bash me on Twitter, it’s not going to change my humour or my show. It’s not The Jimmy Fallon Show. It’s The Tonight Show."

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