Ray Charles once told me (via my iPod) that “the night time…is the right time….to be…with the one you love.”…. I’m going to cite this as the reason why I watch Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (LNJF). ALL THE TIME. Most people who have “friended” me on facebook, or followed my tweets have probably grown accustomed to my continuous posting of Jimmy Fallon related clips followed by smiley faces and hearts. True Story. I apologize to everyone. But not really.
The show is young and fun. After a disastrous first episode, the show has definitely hit its stride, becoming one of the most watched late night programs in the US – and an online hit. Recently, NBC announced that Jimmy Fallon would be taking over the Tonight Show in 2014. It seems like a really sudden decision, with an extremely short timeline (most likely to keep Jay Leno from changing his mind again). While I’m a huge fan of LNJF, the move to the coveted 11:35pm timeslot makes me nervous. I hate the Tonight Show. It might be the association with Jay Leno, but I find the show to be archaic, unfunny and very boring. The Tonight Show is geared to a decidedly older crowd. The Letterman Show, also occupying an 11:35pm timeslot, caters to older sensibilities. It might be my sense of humour, or the fact that the hosts are pushing 70 years old – but it just feels….old.
Moving on up?
LNJF is a show made to be aired at 12:35pm. It’s not offensive or edgy, but its fun and ridiculous enough to play to a much younger crowd. While I’m happy for the cast and crew on the success of the show, my fear is that the show will change. When Conan O’Brien moved from his Late Night show to the Tonight Show (pre O’Brien vs. Leno antics), the atmosphere of the show completely changed. The band changed (with the departure of Max Weinberg), Andy Richter re-joined Conan as his weird-grown-man side-kick, and the humour on the show was decidedly different. Most people probably didn’t even notice it, but to me, it almost seemed as if Conan’s brand of quirky-funny had to be watered down for his new audience. On occasion, I still find Conan to be extremely funny, but it just seems different.
The Host with the Most
Jimmy Fallon is my favourite late night talk show host. He’s funny, charming, talented, and a little bit of a nerd. He’s exactly my type. I’ve always been a fan of Jimmy Fallon, since his days of laughing at his own jokes on SNL, through his horrible movie career, and now finally, as a great late night talk show host. The first episode of LNJF was a disaster. The monologue (admittedly, not Jimmy’s forte) was awkward, and the interviews were embarrassing. His first guest was Robert DeNiro. THE Robert DeNiro. I love Robert DeNiro, I really do, but he is horrible at interviews – usually giving one word answers, or shrugging. Since then, with great writing, fun games, amazing music and hilarious skits, LNJF has created a unique late night show experience.
One of the most refreshing things about the show, and its host, is that Jimmy is genuinely excited about meeting his guests. He reacts to celebrities like an everyday, non-celebrity person would. He “fanboys” over actors, comedians, animals, and musicians….especially musicians.
Bringing it back to the Roots
Speaking of musicians, The Roots play an integral part in providing Late Night with Jimmy Fallon with its “cool-factor”. The Roots is one of the best and hardest working bands in the industry. When I first heard that The Roots would be joining Jimmy Fallon as his house band, I thought it was an outlandish rumour. Why would the genius band behind the hits “the Seed 2.0” and “Here I Come” bother playing the same songs night after night on a TV show?! The Roots add more than just intro and commercial music to the show. They’re so versatile. They’re a key factor in the success of the show. The Roots feature on guest musician performances, comedy sketches, and have also proven themselves to have great comedic timing. They support Jimmy and the show in its entirety. ?uestlove has an amazing musical sensibility, and selects interesting and surprisingly fitting songs for guest intros, and the Thank You Notes segment wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining as it is without James Poyser hamming it up on keyboards.
The writers and crew are very inventive. The content of the show is so unexpected, often random, with hilarious sketches like Real People, Fake Arms and the incredible Downton Sixbey, and segments like Slow Jam the News and Late Night Hashtags. LNJF updated the late night talk show format by introducing game show and SNL-like breaks. The format of the show really showcases Lorne Michaels’ influence on Jimmy Fallon (Lorne is executive producer of LNJF and actually suggested that Jimmy Fallon replace Conan O’Brien). The show makes great use of its cast and crew, and occasional guest stars. Steve Higgins, producer of SNL and now the LNJF announcer, has great chemistry with Jimmy and The Roots, as do the show runners and writers. The whole show is so cohesive.
Since its broadcast debut on March 2, 2009, LNJF has created a huge online presence for itself with many of its popular segments, celebrity sketches and musical performances becoming viral hits. The fact that the show is so interactive and so accessible (online) has allowed people in different countries to tune-in and participate in the show. Audience member are often selected to participate in games and the audience suggestion box, hashtags, dance offs and contests. The LNJF cast and crew love their fans (affectionately called “Fal Pals”), and it shows.
I LOVE LNJF
Jimmy is a great host. The segments are awesome (and often legendary – see “History of Rap” with Justin Timberlake, Parts 1 through 4). The Roots are incredible. Late Night with Jimmy Fallon is a great show, Period. I really hope it doesn’t change…or if it does….that it changes for the better (if that’s even possible).
Jimmy Fallon was recently named on TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential List. Check it out. http://wp.me/p38duN-fV