I started my morning by watching Jimmy Fallon's emotional message about his late mother following his return to The Tonight Show after her passing, and let me tell you, it was a wallop to my soul. Turns out, that's not even half the story of how that night went. A producer on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Mike DiCenzo, took to Twitter following last night's show, and explained the emotional way it all came together, including how Taylor Swift stepped in at the last moment.
At the top of the show, Fallon told a story about how his mother would squeeze his hand three times and say, "I love you." It brought pretty much everyone to tears.
A few words (i.e. a thread) about tonight's show. It was our first show back after Jimmy's mom passed away...— Mike DiCenzo (@mikedicenzo) November 14, 2017
"It was a really tough day for our whole staff," DiCenzo wrote. "A lot of us knew his mom Gloria, and she was the best. The best. She loved the show, she loved all of us, and most of all, she loved Jimmy."
He said that nobody had heard the hand-squeezing story before, nor had they heard the lyrics to "New Year's Day," which Taylor Swift immediately agreed to perform following the news despite not being originally scheduled to appear on the show.
"Suddenly she sings the line, 'Squeeze my hand 3 times in the back of the taxi.' I nearly gasped," DiCenzo continued. "Tears. I think everyone in the audience started sobbing."
First, a quick word about Taylor Swift. She was not scheduled to do our show today. But we wanted something special for this first show back, so we asked her on a complete whim, since she had been in town doing SNL. She said yes with zero hesitation.— Mike DiCenzo (@mikedicenzo) November 14, 2017
During Swift's performance, DiCenzo says Fallon was crying, especially at the lyrics, "Hold on to your memories, they will hold on to you."
"That hug between Jimmy and Taylor after the song was 100% real emotion. Whatever you think of Taylor, she did something beautiful for Jimmy and our show today, and we're forever grateful."
Watch Taylor Swift's performance, and Jimmy's touching tribute, below: