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Meet White Sox ‘Beer Helmet Guy’ Jake Von Esh, The Jimmy Fallon Lookalike Who Has Become Bleacher Famous

Jake Von Esh, the double Modelo-hatted Sox fan caught on camera last fall, was impersonated by Jimmy Fallon on "The Tonight Show." Even the "Cane Guy" acknowledges, "Jake’s got the torch now."

Jake Von Esh and a Jake Von Esh impersonator.

SOX PARK — Jake Von Esh has a handlebar mustache and likes to wear his double-loaded beer helmet to White Sox games. 

He’s received an earful of celebrity comparisons: Rollie Fingers, The Pringles Man, Inigo Montoya from “The Princess Bride” and Greek musician Yanni. Never before has Von Esh been told he looks like Jimmy Fallon. 

A sportswriter on Twitter thought the beer-slurping IT specialist from suburban St. Charles was a near doppelgänger to the celebrity late-night host and tweeted about it. Fallon caught wind of the tweet and tried on Von Esh’s signature look, just to make sure. 

After the show aired, Fallon slid in the White Sox fan’s DMs. 

“My twin! Happy you liked the bit, and was reminded how good looking we are,” Fallon wrote. “I’d love to go to a game with you one day and take down a few beers. Good man, Jimmy.” 

Von Esh is “ecstatic.” Lucky for Fallon, the lifelong Sox fan has two season-tickets in Section 160 of Guaranteed Rate Field’s beer-drenched, lawless left field bleachers. 

The 28-year-old Von Esh and his brother Trevor first bought the seats four years ago — oblivious to the buffoonery they were about to get themselves into. The brothers saw a White Sox fan catch a baseball last season with her prosthetic leg, and have stood by during various bleacher brawls that later went viral

Jake Von Esh was in. He thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool to have a drinking hat?” 

“So I walked in wearing it, grabbed two Modelos from there, I threw them in the hat,” Von Esh and. “Immediately people were like, ‘Ah, dude.’”

Each trip to the Modelo stand above Section 160 now calls for Von Esh to buy not one drink — but two. His brother said there’s usually a line of three or four people waiting to take a picture. 

Credit: Courtesy of Jake Von Esh
Jake and Trevor Von Esh.

“Because he’s got the hair, the mustache, the double-loaded beer helmet. And everyone just loves it,” Trevor Von Esh said. “Jake can be a goofy dude for sure. He can certainly be the life of the crowd.” 

Jake got his “fully functional” headwear as a birthday present two years ago. The Sox logo in the middle was self-stickered. “The team doesn’t actually make a beer helmet,” he said. 

The mustache was just a quarantine thing.

“It was like, I’m not going to work, so I’m just gonna grow a mustache and see what happens,” Von Esh said. “This is me now.” 

Von Esh debuted his makeover on Opening Day last season. Fans flocked with offers — up to $100 — for the helmet. Not a chance. 

“I think everyone should have their own. Especially if you’re sitting in the bleachers. There are no cup holders out there,” Von Esh said. “And the hat is a big social thing.”

Fellow bleacher creatures have brought Von Esh drinks, and so far, their hero has polished off at least 50 beers through his helmet. For games Von Esh plans to drive home from, “I put two in there, that’s it, and leave the empties in for the bit.” 

It was the night of the White Sox’s fabled comeback against the Houston Astros in Game 3 of last season’s ALDS, and Von Esh was in the clear to suck up six Modelos, “about three rounds of the hat.” 

Von Esh flashed on the TV screen for “maybe just five seconds” at the top of the fifth inning. His friends and family got a kick out of it the next day. His roommate gifted him a small canvas print-out of the screen flash for Christmas. But that was about it. 

“Because actually, Cane Guy got all the national media attention that evening,” Von Esh said.

Rob Holt, widely known as “Cane Guy” for his prophetic baseball omens he sends via cane, said he’s happy that Fallon has anointed a new White Sox fan to enjoy the spotlight. 

After Sox magic fizzled out in last year’s playoffs, Holt and his son went out for a beer. A fan with cerebral palsy approached Holt for a picture. Moments later, the fan’s sister came up to Holt, crying and thanking him for making her brother smile. Cane Guy knew then the job was done. 

“I said ‘That’s it.’ That was the impact. To make people laugh, look around and feel a little more comfortable in their lives,” Holt said. “Jake’s got the torch now. He can move forward with it — and bring forth all the Sox fans.” 

Von Esh is ready. He maintains his mustache with wax and routinely washes his helmet, “like the tap lines at the bar.” 

“I definitely love this,” Von Esh said. “I love this team. So if I can be a part of it, somehow, and this is the way it happens, I’m totally cool with it.”

He can’t believe Fallon noticed his antics, even several months after the fact.

“I didn’t think I looked like Jimmy Fallon. But once he put on the whole getup, I was like, ‘Wow, all right, I see it.’” Von Esh said. “I kind of lost it. I went through this whole range of emotions. I laughed. I cried.” 

Von Esh’s mom Nancy had two loves: Jimmy Fallon and the White Sox. Late nights in their household included re-runs of “Fever Pitch,” a film that stars Fallon as a diehard, totally obsessive Red Sox fan. Nancy raised her sons as White Sox fans, and on Mother’s Day of 2018, Jake got them good seats down the third baseline. 

They watched the Sox mount a miraculous late-game comeback. That was two months before she passed. 

“She loved the White Sox,” Von Esh said. “And now for this to happen, for Fallon to do an impression of me at a game, it’s so surreal. Everything came together.”

Von Esh quickly shot a message back to Fallon: He plans to take him up on his offer for brews and bleacher seats. 

“I don’t know if it means Jimmy’s coming to the South Side, or if I got to go to Fenway,” Von Esh said. “But if that happens, it’d be a dream come true.” 

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