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Jimmy Fallon Thanks Monkees’ Micky Dolenz For Early Stand-Up Break: ‘I’ll Never Forget It’

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It’s hard to imagine now, but a one point Jimmy Fallon was an unknown, struggling stand-up comedian looking for a break. On Monday night’s (Feb. 27) Tonight Show, Fallon finally got the chance to thank a musician who took a chance on him way back when by giving the now-veteran late-night host an opening gig for the band.


“I was a stand-up comedian and it was probably 1996 or ’97 … it was before I was on Saturday Night Live,” Fallon told Monkees singer-drummer Micky Dolenz about the time he opened for the “Pleasant Valley Sunday” band nearly 30 years ago. “I got a gig to open for you at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles.”

Fallon recalled saying hello to Dolenz and late Monkees singer Davy Jones, and that Dolenz asked what his name was. “‘I think you got something there, kid,’” Fallon said Dolenz told him. The comedian then recalled “freaking out” about meeting the rocker and remembered that Dolenz told him he was filming a TV pilot and suggested Fallon ask his manager if he could audition for the show.

Fallon did end up trying out for the show — which didn’t get picked up — but he said the kind gesture from Dolenz meant a lot to him. “I wanted to tell you, it built my confidence as a comedian and someone who couldn’t get a gig or get a callback or anything,” Fallon said. “That little boost, that little someone believing in you really meant a lot to me and I’ll never forget it and I really thank you so much,” he added as a humbled Dolenz smiled at the retelling of the story.

The late-night host then pivoted to the story of the other famous James who got a leg up thanks to the Monkees: Jimi Hendrix. The group that was formed for the eponymous 1966-1968 musical sitcom famously booked the late guitar hero to open for them after Dolenz went to see the then-unknown shredder play at a tiny New York club.

Sure enough, Hendrix took the gig and every night when he ripped into “Purple Haze,” Dolenz said the screaming audience would shout, “We want Davy! We want the Monkees!” Dolenz also talked about his new photo book from his salad days, I’m Told I Had a Good Time, and stuck around to play one of the band’s most beloved hits, “Last Train to Clarksville.”

Check out Dolenz on The Tonight Show below.

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