Jimmy Fallon’s first night as “The Tonight Show” host was worth seeing even though many people swore off watching the show after Jay Leno’s departure. One of the people who said that he wouldn’t watch the show, and certainly not review it, is journalist James Poniewozik from Time Entertainment who ended up writing a review on Feb. 18, 2014, anyway.
“I said last week that I wasn’t going to review Jimmy Fallon’s first Tonight Show, and I’m still not, because 1) I’m on vacation, 2) it looks like he’s (rightly) aiming for a scaled-up version of the show he was already doing, and 3) reviewing a late-night show after the first episode is like reviewing a restaurant after checking your coat.”
Journalist James Poniewozik gave one of the reasons why you might have wanted to watch the first “Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon as host.
Meet Jimmy Fallon – and his parents
“But I was struck by one small, but in retrospect very important, thing that Fallon did starting out: He introduced himself,” wrote James Poniewozik.
Not only did Jimmy Fallon introduce himself -- saying that he is 39 years old (he was born on Sept. 19, 1974), that he was an upstate New York native, that he was a former "Saturday Night Live" Weekend Update anchor who took over NBC's "Late Night" from O'Brien (which he hosted for almost five years), that he was married, and that he had a child -- but he also introduced his parents who were sitting in the audience.
Not to rehash the show or the interaction with his parents; it was worthwhile seeing. Jimmy Fallon’s father, clapping his hands, smiling, and yelling “love you” was touching, personal, and a reminder that no matter how old children get, a parent’s pride for his or her child is priceless.
Meet New York – and the renewed purpose of “The Tonight Show”
In addition to the personal touch of last night’s “Tonight Show,” Jimmy Fallon added the show’s historical factor of returning to New York, where the show had first begun, and why it existed – to make you smile.
In regard to New York, the host took the show’s guest band, U2 on the roof of NBC's 30 Rockefeller Center building where they played their new single “Invisible.” The setting of New York with its lights was stunning.
In regard to making his audience smile, Jimmy Fallon showed an early, taped comedy segment, with him and Will Smith performing "The Evolution of Hip-Hop Dancing," which took viewers, amusingly, through M.C. Hammer and up to the twerk. (Will Smith was also Jimmy Fallon's first "The Tonight Show" guest in the studio.)
During his introduction, Jimmy Fallon reminded viewers that the point of having a late night talk show is to enable the audience to go to bed with a smile. It was a nice reminder of why talk shows exist and that listening to a quality joke turns an evening into an enjoyable evening.
"I'm Jimmy Fallon, and I'll be your host -- for now," joked Jimmy Fallon.
Meet the world – and a joke that is not about Justin Bieber
For talk show audience members who are somewhat tired of national jokes involving Justin Bieber, Obamacare, or Chris Christie, Jimmy Fallon took his comedy onto the international stage.
Referring to the thrilling U.S.-Russia men's hockey game, the host recalled the events following the U.S. win.
"The American team said that they were thrilled with the win -- while the Russian team is missing."
Both of the above jokes, about being the host “for now” and about Russia’s missing hockey team have a serious background: Television shows as well as sports have become a business in which you either perform or perish.
During last night’s “The Tonight Show” premiere with Jimmy Fallon, the host received a lot of support by fellow celebrities like Tina Fey, Kim Kardashian, Stephen Colbert, Michael Bloomberg, and many more when he said into the camera that "one of his friends" bet $100 that he’d never be the host of “The Tonight Show.” After saying “you know who you are,” his supporters came out handing him each the $100 bill that they owed him.
Whether it was for Jimmy Fallon’s personal touch, his reintroduction of “The Tonight Show” back to New York, or for taking America’s comedy onto the international scene -- last night, the host reached his goal. He made his audience smile.
For those who missed Jimmy Fallon’s “The Tonight Show” NBC's website is showing some segments.