Two weeks ago, Wade Karlin received a phone call out of the blue from a representative of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” This past summer, the Riverhead native had given his résumé and headshot to a friend, who passed it along to a Manhattan casting director.
Doing so led to an opportunity for Mr. Karlin, 50, to perform in a skit that aired Friday night on the NBC show.
“I was on cloud nine,” he said this week.
Mr. Karlin, who splits his time between Brooklyn and the North Fork, played the role of a bookie during the skit, called “Head Swap.” His character, along with two other bookies, kicked down the door to Mr. Fallon’s office, trying to intimidate him into giving them money.
On Saturday, Mr. Karlin said he woke up to a flood of texts and Facebook messages congratulating him on his performance.
“The whole experience was great,” he said, adding that Mr. Fallon is nice and down to earth. After they finished taping, he said, Mr. Fallon told him he did a great job.
“It was the luck of the draw,” Mr. Karlin said of the opportunity, adding that he once had an acting coach who told him that actors who distribute their headshots and résumés are essentially professional lottery players.
Mr. Karlin has been acting since he was 19 and said most of his work has centered on stage performances. The “Tonight Show” skit marked his second television appearance.
While acting has always been one of his passions, Mr. Karlin also spends considerable time helping his parents with their local fish business, PE & DD Seafood. He also teaches yoga at North Fork Yoga Shala in Greenport and said he’s grateful to the studio’s owner, Claire Copersino, for supporting his television appearance and covering his shifts.
Mr. Karlin, who took up yoga around nine years ago, said he was initially nervous to film the skit but that his stretching techniques helped him channel his energy. He now hopes to do more on-screen acting.
“It was kind of surreal to see myself on TV,” he said, adding that he will continue to distribute his résumé and headshot in the hope of landing additional work.
“I’m going to start putting a lot more stuff out there,” he said. “The ‘Tonight Show’ gig definitely invigorated me to get back in there and throw my head back in the ring. I’d like to pursue it a lot more and see what happens.”