Last September, after Donald Trump appeared on The Tonight Show, we made the decision as a site not to feature any more clips from Jimmy Fallon’s show again until after the election. That Jimmy Fallon ban ended up running much longer; I’m not sure, but I don’t think we have featured any clips from The Tonight Show in nearly a year now. We were angry at Jimmy Fallon for normalizing Trump. We were angry at Jimmy Fallon for not standing up to the hate. We were angry at Jimmy Fallon for not choosing sides, for choosing ratings over country.
I don’t think Jimmy Fallon is a bad guy. I don’t think Jimmy Fallon is a racist. I don’t think that Jimmy Fallon supports the ideals of Donald Trump, but Fallon’s refusal to truly condemn Trump over the last year was both selfish and naive. And there are a lot of people who are going to watch this clip from last night, in which Fallon responds to the violence in Charlottesville and condemns Trump, and they are going to say, “It’s too little, too late, Jimmy.”
I get that.
I completely understand why someone would view that statement with cynicism (Fallon’s ratings, after all, have been eroding since last September, and after a commanding ratings lead in late night, he’s now fallen to number two behind Colbert). I completely understand why some might equate Fallon waiting this long to condemn Trump to Trump’s decision to wait two days to condemn white supremacists. He did it because he had to.
But, I’m also willing to allow for the possibility that Fallon has experienced some personal growth. He’s not a hateful guy — he’s a puppy dog. I don’t think he’s ever hated anything in his entire life. I think he was playing the wrong game, and that it took him way too long to realize it.
I’m not going to reject Fallon’s statement here. I think he’s being sincere; I’ve seen the man act. He sucks at it. This is not acting. And he’s unequivocal: “The fact that it took the President two days to come out and clearly denounce racism is shameful, and I think he finally spoke out because people everywhere stood up and said something. It’s important for everyone, especially white people in this country, to speak out. Ignoring it is just as bad as supporting it.”
He may as well have been speaking to himself, but I think he’s finally listening, too. It took him way too long to have his come to Jesus moment, but I’m honestly glad he came around. To put it in dating terms, I wouldn’t go out with this guy again — he’s hurt us too much — but I think we can be friendly now. I’m not going to be jumping into bed with Fallon, but if I see him on the street, I’ll wave politely.