Society Magazine

"My Grandfather Was Very Religious, So I Used to Go to Mass with Him"

Posted on the 20 February 2014 by Brutallyhonest @Ricksteroni

One day, sooner rather than later, I'm going to want that said about me but for now, you might be surprised to hear who actually said it:

Mr. FALLON: I grew up in an Irish-Catholic family, and I think they force you to watch every James Cagney movie.

(Soundbite of laughter)


GROSS: So you went to Catholic school when you were young.

Mr. FALLON: Oh yeah.

Jimmy-fallon-tonight-showGROSS: Did you have...

Mr. FALLON: I wanted to be a priest.

GROSS: Did you really?

Mr. FALLON: Yeah. I loved it.


Mr. FALLON: I just, I loved the church. I loved the idea of it. I loved the smell of the incense. I loved the feeling you get when you left church. I loved like how this priest can make people feel this good. I just thought it was, I loved the whole idea of it. My grandfather was very religious, so I used to go to mass with him at like 6:45 in the morning serve mass and then you made money too if you did weddings and funerals. They'd give you, you'd get like five bucks. And so I go okay, I can make money too. I go this could be a good deal for me. I thought I had the calling.

GROSS: Do you think part of that calling was really show business? 'Cause like the priest is the performer at church.

Mr. FALLON: Yeah. You know what - I really Terry, I'm, I recently thought about this. Again, I've never been to therapy but I guess that would be, it's being on stage. It's my first experience on stage is as an altar boy. You're on stage next to the priest, I'm a co-star.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. FALLON: I'm, I've got...

GROSS: Also starring Jimmy Fallon.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. FALLON: Yeah, I have no lines but I ring bells. I ring bells and I swing the incense around. But it was my - and you know, you are performing. You enter through a curtain, you exit through the, I mean you're backstage. I mean have you ever seen backstage behind an alter? It's kind of fascinating.

GROSS: Right.

Mr. FALLON: So I think it was, I think it was my first taste of show business and I think - or acting or something.

GROSS: And there are comparisons, I think, between a theater and a church. There are just kind of places that are separated from outside reality.

Mr. FALLON: Yeah. And I remember I had a hard time keeping a straight face at church as well.

GROSS: Did you?

Mr. FALLON: Which - yeah...

GROSS: Did you do imitations of the priest?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. FALLON: Oh, of course. Yeah. I used to do Father McFadden all the time. He's the fastest talking priest ever. He's be like...

(Soundbite of mumbling)

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. FALLON: And then you leave and you go, that - what was that?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. FALLON: That guy's the best. I mean that was church? Sign me up. I'll do church I'll do it 10 times a day if that's church. He was great.

GROSS: Do you still go to church?

Mr. FALLON: I don't go to - I tried to go back. When I was out in L.A. and I was like kind of struggling for a bit I went to church for a while, but it's kind of, it's gotten gigantic now for me. It's like too, there's a band. There's a band there now and you got to, you have to hold hands with people through the whole mass now, and I don't like doing that. You know, I mean it used to be the shaking hands piece was the only time you touched each other.

GROSS: Mm-hmm.

Mr. FALLON: Now I'm holding now I'm lifting people. Like Simba.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. FALLON: I'm holding them (Singing) ha nah hey nah ho.

(Speaking) I'm I'm doing too much. I don't want - there's Frisbees being thrown, there's beach balls going around, people waving lighters, and I go this is too much for me. I want the old way. I want to hang out with the, you know, with the nuns, you know, that was my favorite type of mass, and the Grotto and just like straight up, just mass-mass.

I remember Mass-Mass as a kid growing up in Madrid with my mom and her family.  I remember incense.  Darkened churches.  Women in veils.  Shadows being cast on giant crucifixes.  Confessional booths.  Parents shshing their children.  Quiet prayer.  Reverence.  Awe.  Mystery.

Straight up Mass-Mass.

I'm with Jimmy on this one.

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