Rahm, Fallon Agree to New Pact on “The Tonight Show”

Chicago mayor promises surprise present for Jimmy Fallon

"The Tonight Show" could soon be Chicago-bound for the first time in more than a decade - but first, Chicago kids had better get cracking on cracking their books.

That's because Mayor Rahm Emanuel has extracted another promise from host Jimmy Fallon, this time with the "Tonight Show" host promising to bring the show back to the Second City if Chicago kids manage to read 2.4 million books this summer. That's about six books for each of the school system's more than 400,000 students.

Fallon hesitantly took the mayor up on that challenge Tuesday when Emanuel appeared on his show Tuesday.

The pair also reminisced about the last challenge Emanuel gave Fallon - that of the Polar Plunge - and ribbed each other for how they handled what Emanuel admitted is "not a rational act."

Emanuel and Fallon took that plunge into Lake Michigan in early March to raise money for the Special Olympics, after Chicago kids topped the mayor's goal of two million books read.

Fallon described his own brush with hypothermia in the lake's icy waters as something akin to a near-death experience. "I heard bagpipes," he said. "When you're Irish, that's what you hear when you die."

"You know what the difference is? I heard 'Hava Nagila,'" Chicago's first Jewish mayor returned.

Emanuel also brought out a large photo from the Polar Plunge on the show, and came bearing gifts, including a 16-inch softball, a Buddy Guy CD, Steppenwolf tickets and an assortment of Chicago-brewed beers, Half Acre, Revolution and Goose Island.

NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern spoke with Emanuel backstage before the show began.

"I finally have teenagers at home who think that public service is something to be excited about. I'm going to see The Roots, the band, that's what they're excited about," Emanuel said.

While he was in New York, Emanuel said he also met with two organizations that he's hoping will bring large conventions to Chicago.

For a look back at some of Emanuel's previous late-night appearances, check out his interview with David Letterman.

Contact Us