The big cable channel in Bangkok has been running a week's worth of Jimmy Fallons every Saturday night for a couple of years now. (CNBC has the feed.) Much to my delight, they're going to be showing the new Tonight Shows in the same way.
"I'd like to thank all of my predecessors," he said in the monologue. "Jack Paar; Steve Allen; Johnny Carson; Jay Leno; Conan O'Brian; and Jay Leno." So he got in a couple of zingers about that, saying that he would be the host, "for now."
Let's see how this goes. Jay Leno had a conservative, white bread show. He played to the Rubes, and partly as a result he hadn't actually been funny for years. Johnny Carson was himself a Rube, so there's that. The Tonight Show has been Clem Central for a long time. Jimmy is Big City. He's a very likeable guy, and very funny, but he is also very multi-diverse, generally urban, and much further out in general. I love the Roots, big time, but they're not the traditional Tonight Show band. The Roots, hell, look up "urban" in the dictionary, they show a picture of the Roots.
So I wonder what the Right Wing Echo Chamber will make of all of this. I see already where they criticized Michelle Obama's appearance on the show. How dare she say that young people dance on bar stools! The nerve! I'm sure that they'll find lots more to complain about.
"People said that I'd never get the Tonight Show," Jimmy deadpanned, "in fact, a good friend of mine who bet against it owes me $100." Then Robert DiNiro came out and handed him a hundred. Then Tina Fey, then Mariah Carey; Rudy Gulianni; Joan Rivers; Kim Kardashian; Seth Rogan; Sara Jessica Parker; Mike Tyson; Lady Ga Ga; and Stephen Colbert, who added, "welcome to 11:30, bitch!"
The show is essentially the same as Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. The new studio is big and extravagant, but the show retains the friendly, slightly goofy vibe of Late Night. I was very happy to see that they were letting Jimmy be Jimmy. Maybe they learned their lesson from the Conan debacle. Maybe it's up somewhere on a big plaque: DON'T TRY TO REMAKE THE HOST IN YOUR IMAGE OF THE TONIGHT SHOW.
Jimmy knows best. Good luck, Jimmy!