‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’: Same Old Jimmy an Hour Earlier
The Tonight Show fits Jimmy Fallon like a glove. It’s a perfect match that I wasn’t expecting. For me, Jimmy Fallon’s version of Late Night didn’t capture that show’s essence. During their times on Late Night, David Letterman and Conan O’Brien were the guys who came on after the show your dad watches. They were slightly edgy and a little left of the mainstream without completely alienating it. Jimmy swims in the middle of the mainstream and wholeheartedly embraces it. It wasn’t a good match for Late Night, but it’s exactly what The Tonight Show‘s about.
Unlike Dave and Conan, Jimmy was able to move his old show lock, stock, and barrel an hour earlier. There was no changing to appease middle America, but he acts enough like an overgrown frat boy to appeal to the college crowd. If Jay Leno is vanilla, Jimmy is vanilla with sprinkles. He’s inoffensive fun. Parents won’t have a problem having their kids stay up late Friday nights watching The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, whereas they shudder at the thought of a certain self-pleasuring recurring character from Conan.
Jimmy’s smooth transition from Late Night to Tonight highlights why Conan didn’t work out- and it has very little to do with the second Late Night War. Conan simply wasn’t a good fit for The Tonight Show because his comedy is too wacky. When it’s watered down, his audience doesn’t find it funny and a sizable portion of the population still doesn’t get it. In a strange way, moving to basic cable was the best thing that could’ve happened to Conan post-Late Night.
Now that the obligatory Conan-Jimmy comparison is over, let’s call it as it is: you either already find Jimmy funny or you won’t enjoy his show. For me, Jimmy’s show has to many elements that make for mediocre television, even though there are people who love the parts I dislike. For example, you either like the fact that Jimmy is friends with every living famous person or find his constant name dropping grating. To show off his friends, he plays party games, such as charades or beer pong, with them. Both of those games are only fun when you’re one of the participants, even then they get old fast.
The only thing that makes his show watchable for me is that I like him as a person. As Billy Bush once said on Access Hollywood Live, “There’s not a person in America, who wouldn’t feel comfortable inviting Jimmy Fallon into their house.” That’s exactly why Jimmy belongs hosting The Tonight Show.
Posted on February 20, 2014, in Comedy, Late Night, NBC, Network Television, Talk Shows and tagged conan o'brien, david letterman, jay leno, jimmy fallon, late night, the tonight show, the tonight show starring jimmy fallon. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.