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Jimmy Fallon makes debut as 'Tonight Show' host

Jimmy Fallon
Photo by Larry Busacca

Tonight, Feb. 17, Jimmy Fallon made his official debut as host of “The Tonight Show.” He took over after former host, Jay Leno, stepped down and ended his 22-year reign two weeks ago. Fallon eagerly counted down the days until tonight’s premiere, which featured Will Smith and U2 as his first guests.

His house band, The Roots, also made the transition over to “The Tonight Show” and played as Fallon walked out on stage for the first time. He announced it was the first episode to be broadcast from New York in over 40 years before thanking all of his former host successors. Fallon also gave everyone a little background on himself and introduced his parents, who were in the audience. Steve Higgins made the journey along as the announcer, so Jimmy introduced him as well. He then wrapped his monologue by making another entrance and continuing on with Olympics jokes and the first round of “Tonight Show Superlatives.”

Jimmy Fallon made his way over to the desk and sat down, saying his buddy owed him a hundred bucks for saying he would never be the host of “The Tonight Show.” Then, Robert De Niro, Tina Fey, Joe Nameth, Rudy Giuliani, Mariah Carey, Tracy Morgan, Joan Rivers, Kim Kardashian, Seth Rogen, Lindsay Lohan, Sarah Jessica Parker, Mike Tyson, and Lady Gaga all came out, one by one, to repay their debts by leaving the money on Fallon’s desk. Stephen Colbert even made an appearance, dumped pennies all over Jimmy, and took a selfie.

Fallon and his first guest, Will Smith, demonstrated “The Evolution of Hip Hop Dancing” while wearing bib overalls and over-sized chains. U2 performed their new song, “Invisible,” from atop Rockefeller Center.

Will Smith joined Jimmy in the studio, and they chatted briefly about their dancing, Smith’s career, his kids, and his recent skydiving experience.

What did you think of Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show” debut? Will you keep watching or hope for a Leno return?

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