Welcome to 11:30, B*tch: Jimmy Fallon's 'Tonight Show' Will Be the Warmest, Fuzziest Hour of Late Night
Letterman brings the crusty, gregarious bitterness; Conan brings the egghead comedy; Kimmel is the jocular nice guy; Stewart is our political consciousness (and rage); Colbert is late-night’s friendly Republican doofus with the searing political commentary; Ferguson is his own weird thing, completely separate from the rest of late night (to his credit); and Fallon? He’s late night’s hug. He’s the puff piece we always click on in our Facebook newsfeed, even though we only read the first paragraph. He’s the super fan, the guy who defers to his guests, who he speaks of effusively, no matter who they are. He’s a nice boy, non-threatening, amiable, and cuddly.
There will never be a bitter rivalry on Jimmy Fallon’s The Tonight Show. There will never be any late-wars drama. He’ll probably never ask a tough question, and he’ll probably rarely make news. He’s perfect for The Tonight Show, a sweet, comfortable face at 11:30 who will goof unironically with his guests, and allow himself to be the punchline — but never the butt — of every joke.
No one will turn to Fallon during times of tragedy. No one will look to Fallon for their current events, and Fallon will never be appointment viewing. But he’ll nevertheless be the guy more more televisions than any other 11:30 host, a late-night pillow as we drift off to sleep.
It’s going to be a great, but unremarkable run, and in twenty years when its over, no one will speak of Fallon with anything other than immense fondness.
Here are the highlights from Jimmy Fallon’s debut as the Tonight Show host.
There’s a new opening, directed by Spike Lee.
Here’s nearly 3 minutes of all-star celebrities, settling a bet with Fallon.
And here’s Jimmy Fallon and Will Smith’s “Evolution of Hip Hop Dance,” which is amusing, but there’s something about the largeness of the stage (and of Will Smith) that diminishes the intimacy of he and Timberlake’s evolution bits.