Jimmy Fallon has made interrogation funny on The Tonight Show’s “True Confessions” segment. At a table with a blaring light overhead and cigarettes burning in an ashtray, the late-night host and his celebrity guests tell stories that they claim are true. When they’re not the one telling a wild tale, they have to act as detectives and decide which ones are true. These 20 were very much real – and some of them are downright shocking.
20. Hugh Grant had a bizarre childhood compulsion
Actor Hugh Grant is known for playing the dashing leading man in a slew of romantic comedies. But the Notting Hill star once had a very… unattractive habit, as revealed on a segment of The Tonight Show’s interrogational segment. Grant confessed, “As a child, I had a compulsion to stick apple peels up my nose. And I spent many happy hours having it removed by London’s finest doctors.”
When Fallon asked him how old he was when he started doing this, Grant quipped, “I was 34.” But then, he told the real story. The Love Actually actor explained, “I had an uncle who used to do that thing where he wanted to pick his nose, but he was too polite. So, he used to do it with a sort of hanky. I think I was impressed. Why I transferred from hanky to apple peel I don’t know, but I did and I quite enjoyed the experience. And I repeated it.”
19. Kumail Nanjiani once attempted to strangle someone
For his 2017 romantic comedy The Big Sick, Kumail Nanjani received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. But his “True Confessions” tale read much more like a horror film than a movie with a happy ending. The actor and screenwriter proclaimed, “I once tried to murder someone in Singapore.”
With a rapid-fire line of questioning, host Fallon and guest Chris Hemsworth got the full story from Nanjiani. He said it happened when he was “maybe around 10 or 12 years old,” just after his aunt had allowed him to watch a horror film. That night, the young Nanjiani went sleepwalking and tried to strangle her. Of course, the actor assured everyone that she was never in danger. He said, “I had little 10-year-old hands. I never had a shot.”
18. Kate McKinnon broke into a zoo
Saturday Night Live star and Emmy-winner Kate McKinnon is known for being a character actor, so watching her make her “True Confession” was tough to gauge. She told host Fallon and co-guest-star John Cena that she “once snuck into a zoo after hours.” And she managed to trick one of them into believing it was a lie.
Cena asked her, “Do you have a thing for zoos, or were you just being rebellious?” McKinnon replied, “I enjoy a zoo.” Fallon then asked, “Do you live close to a zoo?” But the comedian said she didn’t – instead, she traveled to another city, where she snuck into the park. This led Cena to believe that she was lying. But according to the Ghostbusters actress, it was a very true story.
17. John Mulaney had a terrifying neighbor
John Mulaney was once a writer for Saturday Night Live and is now an Emmy-winning stand-up comedian. The world may not have gotten to know his talents, though, had he fallen victim to a very creepy neighbor in his New York apartment building. On “True Confessions,” he revealed that a fellow tenant “was arrested by the FBI for being a cannibal.”
Mulaney said that he only found out about the neighbor’s devious deeds when “the FBI was swarming our lobby in a 6 a.m. raid.” Fallon then asked if the comedian had “any clue that he was suspicious of anything.” With a bit of snark, Mulaney retorted, “No, he never said to me in the elevator, ‘Guess what? I might be a cannibal.’”
16. Jennifer Lawrence took drugs on the job
The four Hunger Games films – released between 2012 and 2015 – made Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen the highest-grossing heroine in action film history. And yet, her critically acclaimed performance didn’t come without a bit of help from drugs. But just so we’re clear, we’re talking about a sleeping aid.
On “True Confessions,” Lawrence told the world, “I once took an Ambien before filming a scene in The Hunger Games.” Fallon joked, “Were you sleeping in the scene?” But the action star said that she swallowed the pill before she had to dance on set. This bizarre act made way more sense when she added that she took the drug by mistake.
15. Colin Quinn’s first stand-up set happened while he was under arrest
Some refer to Colin Quinn as the typical New York comic – including his peers Tina Fey, Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld. But perhaps the most New York of all of his stories is the tale of his first stand-up show, which he told on The Tonight Show’s “True Confessions.” The former SNL cast member said his set took place “in a police station, while I was under arrest.”
Fallon knew right away that Quinn’s confession was “absolutely true.” He said, “He’s Colin Quinn, he’s the most Irish guy I know. This is perfect for his one-man show, for his book, this is so him. He did stand-up in a police station.” Of course, the late-night host had hit the nail on the head.
14. Steve Wozniak got held up at gunpoint with his Apple co-founder Steve Jobs
Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs, and together the pair helped to completely revolutionize personal computing forever. But none of that would have come to fruition if a fateful night in 1972 had gone a different way. At least, that’s according to a tale Wozniak told on “True Confessions.”
Wozniak revealed that he and Jobs had gone for pizza. After dinner, they headed to the car – and once they got in, a robber appeared in the window. The Apple co-founder described, “He didn’t point the gun at us, but he made the gun visible through the window of the car.” Luckily, no one got hurt, and the two Steves could go on to change the world in a few years time.
13. Bill Maher pretended to be deaf for a date
Bill Maher said the 1960 movie Where the Boys Are inspired him to creatively ask out a girl when he was in high school. In the film, George Hamilton’s character – who’s on spring break at the time – gets to know a girl by writing question marks in the sand as she tells him about herself. Maher recalled, “She gives him all her information, never says a word. And I thought, this is the coolest thing.”
So, Maher decided to do the same. But there was a caveat – he didn’t have access to a sandy coastline inside of his high school. Instead, he explained, “I went up to her at the locker, with a question mark, and I drew it on a piece of paper.” It wasn’t quite as smooth as the movie version, though. Instead, he revealed, “She wound up mistakenly thinking I was deaf, so I went with it.”
12. Chris Hemsworth had a strange first job
Chris Hemsworth may be a Marvel action hero and movie star now, but his life wasn’t always so glamorous. On one of his visits to The Tonight Show, the Thor star described the first job he ever had at 14 years old – and it was a downright weird one. He confessed, “My first job was cleaning breast pumps.”
The Marvel star explained the position further, saying, “Pharmacies would rent them out and they’d come back covered in dry milk.” So, the adolescent Hemsworth would use a toothbrush to clean out the tools before other moms could rent them. Although his “True Confessions” co-star Kumail Najani couldn’t believe a teen could handle such responsibility, it turned out to be a true story from the Aussie actor.
11. Billie Eilish farted in her friend’s mouth
Billie Eilish stands as the youngest person to ever win all of the Grammys primary categories in a single year. These, of course, are Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best New Artist. And yet, her meteoric rise to fame didn’t come without some messy stories along the way.
Speaking on “True Confessions,” Eilish shared, “I once farted in my friend’s mouth while she was yawning, and she threw up.” According to the “Bad Guy” singer, she stood next to her seated friend and released gas that she “did not think… would be bad.” But her buddy certainly thought it was, resulting in a moment that was “so funny” to the Grammy-winner and a little bit gross to the rest of us.
10. Colin Farrell was a suspect in an attempted murder
In Bruges actor Colin Farrell could have landed in jail in a case of mistaken identity. He revealed on a “True Confessions” segment that Australian cops brought him in as a suspect in an attempted murder case. The star admitted that the pencil sketch of the assailant looked a lot like him, too. He recalled, “They said, ‘What do you think about that picture?’ And I went, ‘I think I’m in trouble.’”
Luckily for Farrell, though, he had an alibi – though it was a pretty seedy one at that. He told Fallon, “A friend of mine had kept a journal, and that particular night and that particular time we were at a party the other side of town doing ecstasy.” So, he was released from custody and his name was cleared – it just took six hours of police questioning and a friend’s diary to do it.
9. Ryan Reynolds’s mom washed her hands with a urinal cake
Rather than reveal a secret about himself, Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds decided to tell a hilarious – but gross – story about his very own mom. The actor shared that she had attended an outdoor funeral. Here, the only bathroom facilities were portable toilets – but they were pretty modern ones.
The National Lampoon’s Van Wilder actor described it as a “Space Age” portable toilet, with both a sit-down facility and a built-in urinal. His mom mistook the latter as a sink and the urinal cake as a piece of soap, which she used to wash her hands. But Reynolds defended her error, saying, “A lot of people don’t know that’s a urinal cake. Also, like, what kind of a-hole calls it a cake?”
8. Chadwick Boseman went on a date with two sisters
Chadwick Boseman became an international superstar – and superhero – when he played the leading role in 2018’s Black Panther. So, it sent shockwaves around the world when the 43-year-old actor passed away in August 2020 after a secret four-year battle with colon cancer. His colleagues had no idea he was sick, saying he appeared on set with the same charisma and joy seen on-screen.
The same went for Boseman’s 2018 appearance on The Tonight Show, where he shared a hilarious secret from his life off-screen. He smiled as he revealed to Fallon and co-guest Marlon Wayans, “I once went on a date with a Colombian model and her twin sister.” The Black Panther star said that they needed a third wheel on their outing because his date couldn’t speak much English and he didn’t know enough Spanish. The sister, therefore, served as their translator.
7. Matthew McConaughey threw his baby in the air to save it from a charging ram
This is really only a story that could come from Matthew McConaughey. The Academy Award-winning actor made a startling confession that involved his then-six-month-old son Levi. They had gone for a Grand Canyon hike along with McConaughey’s wife Camila and their dog BJ. Somewhere along the way, they crossed paths with a ram – and it was none too pleased by their presence.
Apparently, it was the dog who angered the ram, so McConaughey handed the pooch over first. But the horned mammal was still mad and focused its rage on the new dad and his son. To save the baby, the Dallas Buyers Club actor had to throw him to his wife, who had snuck away from the scene. Luckily, she caught their infant after he sailed 15 feet through the air.
6. Martin Short used a fake accent to pick up girls
It’s not difficult to imagine funnyman Martin Short faking an accent for a bit – but he didn’t always do so to make people laugh. The one-time Saturday Night Live actor revealed through “True Confession” that he “would sometimes pretend to be an exchange student from London.” He did this in order “to pick up girls.”
Both Fallon and “True Confessions” guest Steve Martin interrogated Short. The show host asked if anyone ever believed him, and the Three Amigos star said that they did. Then, Martin wondered, “Would they sleep with you?” Short let out a resounding no – a fact that made Martin hilariously exclaim that the entire story had to be true, if the accent didn’t work.
5. Pete Davidson went on an island getaway with his SNL boss
Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson played “True Confessions” with two of the show’s alumni – Fallon and John Mulaney. So, they were both shocked by the story he told during the Tonight Show segment. Davidson revealed that he and SNL boss Lorne Michaels “went to Jamaica together on vacation for New Years.”
The tale Davidson told was simple enough. He explained, “[Michaels] was just like, ‘I’m going to Jamaica, want to come?’” Both Mulaney and Fallon weren’t buying that their former boss would do such a thing. So, when Davidson revealed he was telling the truth, they were both dumbfounded – maybe because they never got an invite to an island with the SNL producer.
4. John Cena’s ex hit him with her car
It’s hard to imagine anyone taking down WWE star and Hollywood actor John Cena. But according to his “True Confessions” segment – in which he was interrogated by Fallon and Kate McKinnon – he admitted to it happening at least once. He revealed, “I was once hit by a car while riding my bike, and the driver was my girlfriend.”
According to Cena, he was about to start college when the accident happened, and he chose to ride his bike instead of taking the car because he “fancied [himself] physically fit.” But his girlfriend ended that cycling journey and –in the same swipe – their courtship. The Trainwreck actor said his ex didn’t cry when she realized what she had done. So, he explained, “That was the abrupt end of our relationship.” Ouch.
3. Marlon Wayans admitted to an A-list make-out session
Sometimes, one star’s “True Confessions” story ropes in another celebrity and reveals a secret of theirs, too. That’s what happened when Scary Movie star Marlon Wayans visited The Tonight Show and revealed, “I once made out with Madonna.” Through a line of questioning from Fallon and co-guest Chadwick Boseman, the comedian revealed that it happened at an Oscars after-party. How very Hollywood!
According to Wayans, Sean Combs – the rapper also known as Puffy – threw the party. That meant that he brought plenty of bottles of Ciroc, the vodka which he has promoted since 2007. And because “everybody was drunk,” the White Chicks actor got a smooch from Madonna – although it didn’t seem to mean much. He explained, “I don’t think she remembers it, because she was kissing somebody else by the time I left. But it was awesome.”
2. A drug dealer held up Jimmy Fallon with a sawed-off shotgun
It’s not just Tonight Show guests who play “True Confessions” – the late-night host gets in on the fun, too. So, Fallon shared a harrowing secret with his guests Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. He revealed, “In college, my friend and I were robbed by a drug dealer with a sawed-off shotgun.”
Poehler hilariously retorted, “First of all… what college did you go to?” as if that detail was a lie. But the entire story ended up being true. Fallon said he went to his friend’s house to catch a ride to the mall, having no idea that his pal was a drug dealer and clearly dabbled with the wrong people. As he waited to leave, a man walked in with a sawed-off shotgun and told Fallon to get on the ground – a moment that obviously spoiled his impending shopping trip.
1. Someone mistook Tina Fey for a prostitute
Most people who saw Tina Fey on the street nowadays would recognize her from Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock or Mean Girls, among many other credits. But in 1992 she was a recent college graduate and had yet to break through on SNL. And given her anonymity, she experienced a serious case of mistaken identity at this time.
Fey said that she and her cousin visited Monaco expecting lively casinos like the ones in New Jersey. Instead, they found “weird Europeans quietly gambling,” and she and her cousin “were the youngest people there.” Then, a man approached the two of them and invited them to dinner in a hidden back room. Then, Fey came to realize that “the only possible explanation for why we would’ve been in there is that we were prostitutes,” which, of course, they weren’t.