Recalling the more shocking activities he engaged in, Fallon joked that he “almost died” going 95 miles an hour on a zip line in the jungle.
Jimmy Fallon visited the recovering island of Puerto Rico and documented his experience on Tuesday’s episode of The Tonight Show. The impetus of the weekend trip was to raise relief money for artists affected by the hurricane in 2017.
The episode opened with The Roots members Questlove and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter quizzing Fallon on his knowledge of Puerto Rico.
The host shared that it’s an unincorporated territory of the United States, it’s approximately 1,000 miles southeast of Miami and that “it’s known locally as Borinquen from the indigenous Taino name Boriken, meaning ‘Land of the valiant Lord.'”
Fallon continued to list off facts, including that Puerto Rico’s chief exports are rum, electronics, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and medical equipment. “I can’t believe I forgot medical equipment. And, of course, canned tuna,” he shared. “Other than that, I don’t know much about Puerto Rico.”
He then transported to Puerto Rico, where he explained that the show would take place on the island. “Even just walking around, you can feel the energy and spirit of this place. The history, the food, the music, the people. Puerto Rico is thriving and it’s open for business,” he said.
While there, the host visited Lin-Manuel Miranda on set at the opening of Hamilton, in which Fallon donned full costume to perform “The Story of Tonight” from the Broadway hit — but with updated lyrics for The Tonight Show. The Hamilton cast also helped sing the late-night show’s theme.
“There are friends who say ‘good luck,’ and there are friends who say, ‘Hold on. I’m coming with you,'” tweeted Miranda in reference to Fallon’s visit to his homeland.
Fallon also took to the streets with Questlove, Black Thought and Puerto Rican singer Bad Bunny to dance to the musician’s hit “MIA.” They were joined by a group of local residents and musicians waving Puerto Rican flags and playing instruments.
Miranda and Fallon sat down on the Hamilton stage to speak about the string of performances in Puerto Rico, where Miranda praised the cast and Fallon praised the show itself. “It’s kind of poetic justice for it to come to Puerto Rico,” Fallon said. “There’s a song in this show called ‘Hurricane’ and I could barely get through it last night,” Miranda responded: “Never in a million years would I imagine it would resonate in this way,” he said of writing the song years ago.
The interview focused on the importance of supporting Puerto Rico, specifically by taking advantage of small businesses. “We’re trying to promote tourism and people coming and visiting our island — not just sort of going to the hotels,” said Miranda. “Then also finding that local business that means something to you and supporting them while they’re here, cause they make Puerto Rico great.”
Miranda later shared that the trip was the first time he has brought his children to the island. “They’re getting their real Puerto Rico life,” he shared.
The actor also said that his four-year-old son Sebastian saw his full performance in Hamilton for the first time during the trip. “I prepped him. I was like, ‘Everything Daddy does on that stage is pretend. Kissing that lady, getting shot by that guy. That’s all pretend,'” he said. “We sort of talked through it, but he was really proud.”
Later on, Fallon and Black Thought went down one of the longest zip lines in the world in the jungles of Puerto Rico, which travels at 95 miles an hour from an enormous height.
Fallon shared that American Express donated $250,000 to the Hispanic Federation “to help small businesses get back on their feet.”
The host encouraged viewers to visit hispanicfederation.org/donate to donate. “I also donated to Chef Jose Andres’ charity World Central Kitchen, which helps bring food and hope to communities,” he shared.
The prerecorded clip concluded with Fallon encouraging viewers to visit Puerto Rico.
Andres also joined Fallon to discuss Puerto Rico’s food, as well as his charity. The two visited El Rinconcito Latino in Pinones. “Everybody here, they are locals. So if you are a tourist and you want to become a local, you come here. And what do you do?” said the chef. “Two rum sours, please.”
They ate alcapurria, which Andres referred to as “the essence of Puerto Rico.” The chef encouraged Fallon to observe, smell and admire the food before he took a bite. “You need to close your eyes before you bite into it,” he said. They finished the meal with rum sours.
“Every chef in Puerto Rico has their own little secret ingredients from the island, ingredients from other parts of the world that became one,” said Andres. “Puerto Rico obviously developed their own cooking and to me today, the cooking of Puerto Rico is one of the most interesting cookings not only in America, but anywhere around the world.”
They later took a stroll on the beach. While discussing the importance of small businesses, the chef opened up about his work with World Central Kitchen. He shared that following Hurricane Maria, he and a group of chef friends flew to Puerto Rico to open a kitchen that served free meals to anyone in need.
“We went from one kitchen to 26. From 1,000 meals the first day to 150,000 meals a day,” he said. “At the end, the people of Puerto Rico fed Puerto Rico. The people of Puerto Rico have the biggest heart I’ve ever seen in my entire life. They came together as one people and together they moved forward after the Maria Hurricane.”
The episode concluded with a performance by Jose Feliciano and Ozuna. Before they took the stage, Fallon said that they would perform “a love song to Puerto Rico.” Watch their performance of “En Mi Viejo San Juan” below.