As a consequence of having two screaming infants who refuse to sleep for even one minute at nighttime, I’ve been watching a lot of late night TV recently. Therefore, the transition of ‘The Tonight Show’ from Jay Leno to new host Jimmy Fallon interests me much more now than it may have if it had happened, say, two months ago. Did you watch the Fallon’s big premiere this week? How do you think he fared?
I’m writing this post on Tuesday, having only seen the Monday premiere episode. Personally, I think Fallon did OK, but he seemed overly nervous and cautious, like he was worried that the specter of Leno hovered over his shoulder every minute, waiting to pounce and take the show back… again.
Like most viewers under 70-years-old, I’m relieved to see Leno gone. That has less to do with his notorious antics in wresting ‘The Tonight Show’ away from David Letterman back in the day or Conan O’Brien more recently, than it has to do with the simple fact that the guy hasn’t been funny in at least 20 years. Not that Letterman is doing much better on CBS these days, but still… on the rare occasion that I’d flip the channel to NBC, ‘The Tonight Show’ was a complete comedic and entertainment dead zone. Leno had to go.
I like Jimmy Fallon. I think he did a great job hosting ‘Late Night’ the last several years. I’d like to see him succeed here. My fear, of course, is that the executives at NBC will hold him on such a tight leash in the new time slot that he won’t be able to let loose or have the sort of goofy fun he’s famous for. You know, basically what happened to Conan all over again.
The “Evolution of Hip-Hop Dancing” skit in the premiere episode was very funny, but I worry that it may have single-handedly lost the show’s entire over-60 demographic right off the bat, and NBC will probably freak out about that. Unfortunately, that was really the only inspired bit of the night. The U2 concert on the roof of the 30 Rock building was kind of neat, though I didn’t care about the song at all. Other than that, pretty much the entire episode was devoted to people congratulating Fallon on the promotion and jokingly warning him not to blow it. That got kind of old quickly. I wish he’d found time to work one of his celebrity games into the premiere. Hopefully, he’ll make time for fun stuff like that soon.