Jimmy Fallon returned to The Tonight Show after his mother Gloria Fallon’s death last week.


The late night show had been canceled for the week as Fallon and his family coped with Gloria’s passing. Fallon gave an emotional tribute to his mom, holding back tears as he did so. “She was the best audience, she was the one I was always trying to make laugh,” he said.

“When we were little, my mom would walk us to the store – me and my sister – and we would hold hands. And she would squeeze my hand three times and say, ‘I love you,’ and I would squeeze back, ‘I love you too,'” the host described, his voice breaking. “Last week I was in the hospital, at her side, and I grabbed her hand and I squeezed ‘I love you,’ and I just knew we were in trouble.”

“I feel so grateful to be able to do this every single night and I’m very appreciate of all the support from all of you that my family received over the past week,” the host continued. “We’re gonna continue to work really hard to bring some light and some laughter into the world. Thank you for watching, thank you for helping my family recover from this loss. Mom, I’ll never stop trying to make you laugh. I love you,” he finished, while visibly squeezing his hand three times.

Gloria died on Nov. 4, and her cause of death has not been released. Show producer Mike DiCenzo took to Twitter to show his grief for the loss as well, who considered Gloria a part of the team. “It was a really tough day for our whole staff. 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 tweeted.

Later in the show, Taylor Swift took the stage and performed her emotional song “New Year’s Day,” which contained lyrics that mirrored the story that Fallon had shared about his mother. “Squeeze my hand three times in the back of the taxi,” she sang. And later, “hold on to your memories, they will hold onto you.”

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