Welcome to 11:30, B*tch: Jimmy Fallon's 'Tonight Show' Will Be the Warmest, Fuzziest Hour of Late Night
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Welcome to 11:30, B*tch: Jimmy Fallon's 'Tonight Show' Will Be the Warmest, Fuzziest Hour of Late Night

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | February 18, 2014 | Comments ()

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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.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • pissants_doppelganger

    Well, Dustin, your writing on this post was quite depressing. Why don't you just pen a loving ode to toast while you're at it?

    Toast isn't amazing. No one will ever talk about toast. But toast will be there to make that bland turkey sandwich even blander. Toast will be there so you can spoon your creamed chipped beef onto it (or whatever "shit on a shingle" you happen to be eating that night). It will be an unremarkable dinner, and in twenty minutes when it's over, everyone will sit around the table and say, "Ahhhhhhh...that was OK."

  • Tammy

    Fallon made me laugh, hard, throughout last night's show. Olympic Superlatives? Hilarious. The cameo bit becoming one big set-up for a Colbert appearance? Inspired. Evolution of Hip Hop Dance was worth at least a couple chortles, and was fun to watch, if not revolutionary. Add to that The Roots and the sheer JOY Fallon takes in hanging out with his guests, and you've got a show I now look forward to watching. I adore Conan, but Fallon really is a better fit for 11:30 on network. It goes without saying that he's better than Leno; but even Letterman doesn't usually make me *really* laugh much anymore. All in all I thought it was a great debut.

  • PDamian

    I can remember staying up late in college to watch Letterman in my dorm's TV room with like-minded souls, and thinking that he was so much more cool and edgy than Johnny Carson, who was (of course) my parents' choice for late-night viewing. There were guys in my classes who would memorize his schtick and repeat it obsessively, wondering why they didn't get the same big laughs. He was a little bit of city sophistication in my itty-bitty college town in the Arizona boondocks. Seeing him reduced to grouchy, uninterested, and even sullen at times, is just depressing.

  • Was it just me or was it surprising LiLo didn't grab the pile of hundies off the desk and run out the stage door?

  • Valhallaback Girl

    Say what you want about Jimmy Fallon, but that right there is a 12 year old kid who loves his adult job.

  • Jiffylush

    Come on, like Alfonso Ribiero was busy or something. Him running out for the Carlton would have brought the house down.

  • PDamian

    I was soooooo hoping, and half expecting, that that's what was going to happen. Bummer.

  • googergieger

    So Jimmy Fallon=meh? Sounds about right.

  • Al Borland's Beard

    I'll watch as long as he still has the greatest house band of any late night talk show.

  • zeke_the_pig

    Indeed I was about to say that, 'No one will turn to Fallon during times of tragedy', is most definitely incorrect, as a combination of The Roots and toy instruments is exactly what I turn to in times of tragedy.

    'When I find myself in times of trouble
    Jimmy Fallon comes to me
    Questlove and The Roots too
    You got me
    You got me'

  • Al Borland's Beard

    Black Thought happily playing the tambourine gets me every time.

  • zeke_the_pig

    Yes! Exactly. I try and focus on everyone else but he's just joyfully mesmerising.

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