My last post detailed my first observations of the new Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and now having been witness to its first month of shows, I can now unequivocally state that late night television has the best new host since David Letterman.
Closer to Carson than Letterman, but more showman than either. Fallon has brought an unequaled energy, excitement and attention to late night.
Fallon has arrived (photo: nbc)
Nobody has been able to convince major movie and television stars to participate in sketches, musical numbers or special events, until Fallon.
Nobody has so transformed the stock standard joke, laugh, joke, laugh formula of the monologue, until Fallon.
And nobody has been able to bring a fun energy, with no cynicism or bad vibes, until Fallon.
He has been able to totally reinvent the show, moving totally away from the stand-up comic vibe of Leno and while not being all too similar to Carson, has been able to capture his essence and reinstate the integrity back into the franchise, while also ensuring that he also brings it into the new century.
Jimmy Fallon’s monologues are the funniest on television, they are filled with spontaneous and partially improvised laugh out loud moments. They don’t seem forced or repetitive and they don’t drag out.
The comedy pieces are fresh, original and don’t feel like an afterthought, which Leno’s often seemed.
The guests are integrated into the show, not just strutted out to tell their funny vacation story. Kevin Bacon dancing onto the show in the style of footloose, Michelle Obama joining in on the sketch ‘ewww’, and Jon Hamm photo bombing tourists atop 30 Rock. Nobody else has tried, or even bothered to make the guests the centre of the show, and integrate comedy into their segments.
Fallon has fun with Jon Hamm (photo: nbc)
While there is no doubt Letterman shines as an interviewer, Fallon cannot compete there, but what he does bring is enthusiasm and energy into his celebrity chats. They don’t drag on and there is always a chance for a good one liner to be snuck in.
Meanwhile the music on the show continues to be the best, from the musical guests, lavish performers and The Roots continuing to surprise and entertain as multi dimensional performers.
NBC may have totally messed up the last Tonight Show transition, but in the process stumbled upon the best host since Carson.
It took 22 years, but The Tonight Show is back.