\"Gabriel

Gabriel Byrne, left, and Jimmy Fallon at the 13th Annual Irish Arts Center Spirit of Ireland Gala. New York City, October 5, 2012. Photo by: Erin Baiano

NBC host Jimmy Fallon, says being an altar boy gave him the performance bug – VIDEO

\"Gabriel

Gabriel Byrne, left, and Jimmy Fallon at the 13th Annual Irish Arts Center Spirit of Ireland Gala. New York City, October 5, 2012. Photo by: Erin Baiano

Jimmy Fallon said his introduction to the life on stage began when he was an altar boy.

"It gave me the performance bug," the Irish American revealed.

Fallon made the remarks during the annual Irish Arts Center Spirit of Ireland Gala where he was honored Friday night.

Accepting his award at the New York Athletic Club, the NBC host compared serving Mass to hosting his talk show ‘Late Night with Jimmy Fallon’.

Speaking about his Irish heritage, he recalled fond memories of his Irish grandfather teaching him boxing as a child.

“I wish my grandparents were here to see this, because I know they would be proud.”

To conclude his award acceptance, Fallon, who was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Saugerties, NY, performed a song for the audience that he penned especially for the occasion.

“My Daddy is Irish and so is my Mama, and so is our President Barack Obama,” the comedian began.

“It’s really an honor to get this award, when Liam Neeson found out he ran out the door.”

He joked: “I am your guest of honor and I am all in tizzy, I can only assume Colin Farrell was busy.”

Fallon was honored alongside American Ireland Fund Board Member, John Duffy.

Duffy, whose Mother hails from Co. Leitrim, is the Vice Chairman of investment bank KBW.

Over three hundred patrons attended the Irish Arts Center’s 13th Annual Spirit of Ireland Gala on Friday night.

Guests included IAC honorary chair, Gabriel Byrne, House Speaker Christine Quinn, American Ireland Fund chairman, Loretta Brennan Glucksman, and President of The American Ireland Fund Kieran McLoughlin.

Founded in 1972, Irish Arts Center is a New York-based arts and cultural center.

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