Jimmy Fallon, night 2: Tina Fey to the rescue!

Jimmy Fallon’s second night featured an opening monologue so half-hearted (cold-weather/economy topical joke: "It’s brutal out there; the Dow is 30 below zero"), it looked as though Fallon couldn’t wait to bring out his special guest, his former Saturday Night Live "Weekend Update" co-anchor, Tina Fey. Fey was, as always, enthusiastic, smart, and funny.

Fallon’s Late Night is giving new meaning, a new intensity, to the term "good sport": his next guest, Jon Bon Jovi, not only maintained a polite, fixed grin as a plucky audience-member did a karaoke version of "Wanted Dead or Alive" — Bon Jovi also joined in singing along  with the young woman. Similarly, at the end of a deadly segment about a desk chair Jimmy was rejecting, Fey stared with a sedate smile as the bit ended… with no discernible punchline. She seemed as baffled as the rest of us, but maintained a hopeful gaze at her pal.

Fallon is trying out various bits to see what might stick. He showed a video of a German soccer fashion show and heckled/commented over it, in the manner of Mystery Science Theater 3000. He also had his camera operator zoom in on various people in the audience and them placed a Facebook-update frame around each face, with a comment such as " …wearing his thong backwards." I’ll just assume that this was Fallon’s knowing hommage to  the same routine Steve Allen used to do on The Tonight Show a half-century ago, having the camera zoom in on an audience-member while Allen spoke their "inner thoughts."

This is the way you build a talk show: plundering from the past is a thoroughly acceptable method; so is calling in favors from friends. Pretty soon, though, you have to start coming up with your own format, your own style.

Tomorrow I’ll review not only Fallon’s Wednesday show, but also what some of the other late-night hosts are up to during Fallon’s opening week.

For now, though, I ask: will you keep watching Fallon?


Comments (186 total) Add your comment
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  • jd

    OMG. He’s horrible. But so was Conan when he began. I’ll let him get better, then reject him outright since while Conan was Conan, Jimmy Fallon is, alas, Jimmy Fallon.

  • Jenn67

    I remember Conan’s first weeks at Late Night…BRUTAL. I think Jimmy will come into his own when he puts more of himself in the show and less schtick. I wish him the best.

  • celeste

    Yes I will…

  • Sherri

    He’s still pretty jittery.
    Definitely will keep watching Tina though. Also, 30 Rock needs to milk the mutual appreciation of sexiness between Tina and RPattz. A vampire boy-toy sounds good for Lemon.

  • dan

    People… PLEASE STOP COMPARING FALLON TO CONAN…. Conan had NEVER been on tv before… FALLON is supposed to be a vet of stage and screen! The fact that he’s doing as bad, if not worse, then a guy who had ZERO experience says it all. Fallon is a turd and his show will go down with the Chevy Chase show and the Magic Johnson show as just another lousy footnote to late night talkshow history.

  • brandy

    i’m rooting for fallon, and am sticking with him (for now, anyway).

  • agreeingwithDan

    Amen, brother. No comparison. Plus, Conan has a little thing called stage presence. Oh, and talent.

  • Ellen

    I once saw a one-legged man get caught up in the leashes of a bunch of dogs someone was walking. He struggled for a few seconds before toppling over (smacking one of the dogs in the face with his artificial limb in the process). I kept telling myself to look away, but I just. Couldn’t. Turn. My head.

  • Babs

    Yeah, I’m in. How can you not want to watch a show that has The Roots as the house band???

  • lauren

    watch fallon who? what?

  • Tim

    Remember, Conan was so bad at the start that he was actually fired…and then hired back a day later since they had no one else. Obviously, NBC is glad they did because Conan hit his stride and became a great talent.

  • Diana

    The criticism seems a bit undue. The late night greats, weren’t great when they started. But they’ve been on the air for 15-20 years, so who remembers that first week or month of shows. Give it time, he’ll get into his own groove. His webisodes leading up have been very funny and classic Jimmy Fallon.

  • Fatima

    I’m glad you’re not crucifying Fallon. He’s off to a rocky start, but I’m glad some understand how hard this job is to get good at right away. He’ll find his groove

  • LK

    I love Craig Ferguson, that’s my final answer.

  • Craig

    The comparison between Conan and Fallon is apples and oranges. Conan had no experience. Fallon has been kicking around for years. I’ll be shocked if Fallon is still around this time next year.

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