Jimmy Fallon in February. “There is no excuse for this,” Mr. Fallon said of the blackface sketch.Credit...Krista Schlueter for The New York Times

Jimmy Fallon Apologizes for Blackface Skit

In a ‘Saturday Night Live’ sketch from 2000, Mr. Fallon appears in blackface while impersonating his fellow comedian Chris Rock.


Jimmy Fallon, the host of “The Tonight Show,” apologized on Tuesday for wearing blackface while impersonating fellow comedian Chris Rock on “Saturday Night Live” two decades ago.

“In 2000, while on SNL, I made a terrible decision to do an impersonation of Chris Rock while in blackface,” Mr. Fallon said on Twitter. “There is no excuse for this. I am very sorry for making this unquestionably offensive decision and thank all of you for holding me accountable.”

In a video of the sketch that recently resurfaced on social media, Mr. Fallon appears opposite Darrell Hammond, who was impersonating the television host Regis Philbin.

Mr. Fallon wears a black turtleneck, a black leather jacket and a wig. His face is covered in dark makeup. He appears in the sketch for less than a minute.

“I’ve seen ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,’ and guess what? Not a lot of black folks on the show,” Mr. Fallon says in the skit, setting up his punchline.

“Know why? Because black folks don’t like to answer questions,” he continues. “Oh, they want to be millionaires, but you got to ask their kind of question, like, ‘In 1981, how many grams of crack did Rick James smoke when he recorded “Super Freak”?’”

Mr. Fallon declined to comment further on the sketch. Mr. Rock did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Fallon is not the only late-night talk show host with a blackface performance in his past.

A video of Jimmy Kimmel, the host of ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” wearing blackface while impersonating the N.B.A. player Karl Malone on “The Man Show” resurfaced last year. The skit was part of a segment where Mr. Kimmel repeatedly wore blackface to impersonate Mr. Malone. Mr. Kimmel has not recently addressed the video.