It took only five years for Jimmy Fallon to rise the ranks from “Late Night” to “The Tonight Show.” Good for him, but damn, whatever happened to paying your dues? I mean, he’s an outstanding late-night host, but he really lucked into the timing lottery. Anyway, yesterday, the transition became official, and we also know that Fallon will be taking over for Leno after the Winter Olympics next year.
Everyone is apparently full of good will and congratulations, and there appears to be no hard feelings on any side. Leno, Fallon, and Letterman all addressed the transition last night. Fallon was his usual overjoyed, enthusiastic puppy-dog self, although you could sense he was very emotional in talking about the takeover.
Leno worked the announcement into his monologue, where he seemed to be in good spirits, although it did not improve the jokes. Man, how did this guy stay on top for 20 years?
The surprise of the night may have been Dave, who discussed the situation at length, because you know Dave kind of loves this stuff. I don’t really know what’s going on between Dave and Leno anymore, but Dave was very congratulatory on Jay’s long career, as well as gracious, and he also mentioned that he and Jay had been friends for 38 years, and he didn’t add a wisecrack. Really, “friends”?
Conan, for the record, also wished Jimmy Fallon good luck.
Now we can stop talking about it, at least until Dave announces his retirement.