Up Close and Personal With TV Host Jimmy Fallon
The top 5 ways Late Night changed the comedian's health habits.
No. 2. He battled his stage fright.
“I get nervous all the time. I’m just as nervous before going on stage in a small venue as I am doing my act for the first lady,” says Fallon, who admits that he is no extrovert. Surprised to learn a seasoned comedy pro still gets the jitters? Don’t be. Fallon shares a fear of public speaking with most of us. But he loosens up as he continues, notes Paul L. Witt, PhD, associate professor in the department of communications studies at Texas Christian University. “He’s taught himself to adapt, to relax into the stress of the performance.”
You can too with just a few smart techniques. First, if you’re prone to sweating, wear cool, loose-fitting clothing. Bring a glass of water to the podium if you suffer from dry mouth. And practice deep-breathing to calm your nerves. Once on stage, avoid using a microphone, if possible; projecting your voice, which forces air into your lungs, helps to calm you down. If your hands are trembling, hide them behind your back or place them on the podium. Finally, ask for feedback after the presentation. “If your audience praises you, or if they laughed a lot during it, you know you’ve done a good job,” says Witt. “And you realize your fears were irrational.”
And the No. 1 way Fallon changed his health habits to succeed on Late Night:
No. 1. He realized he can’t get sick -- he’s the host!
“If the host gets sick, there is no show,” says Fallon simply. And “the grind, but the good grind” of 200-plus performances each year before a live audience is a daunting proposition for any performer. So Fallon is treating his new duties like a boxer training to go extra rounds. (Cue Rocky music here.) These days the comedian sleeps more, goes out less, and takes care of himself. Because preventing illness is no joke -- not even for Late Night’s new king.
Adapted from the cover story of WebMD the Magazine’s July/August 2009 issue. Read the complete story here.