* Please note, this article was written prior to the announcement by NBC on Wednesday, March 20th that the network has made a commitment to Jimmy Fallon stating that he will eventually step in as host of "The Tonight Show." No official timetable for the transition has been set. There will be more about this announcement in a future post on this site. *
While he’s been at this for a mere three years, not a long stretch, especially in terms of late night tenure, a level of comfort within Jimmy Fallon is evident. Yet, he still seems a little bit like a kid in a candy store; a candy store where you have to figure out how to make amusing, witty, charming, fun candy. And, he seems to very much enjoy doing just that.
Before a taping of his show, NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” even begins, the buzz in the audience builds. This excited chatter illuminates the fact that the host of this show is just as big a star as any guests he may welcome to the stage. And, with a track record that includes surprise visits from Dave Mathews and Bruce Springsteen, audience members know that once the show gets under way, anything can happen.
On this night, Fallon interviews three very different guests; Amy Adams, a versatile young movie star, David Gregory, a newsman and professional golfer, Rory Mcllroy. With each one Fallon seems very at ease and this in turn leads his guests to an ease in which they don’t see like they’re in front of a studio audience much less on TV. The conversations seem like something that would take place in a living room, not in a studio. Maybe Fallon should abandon his boxy desk and instead employ a big comfy chair.
After the interviews, a round of audience suggestions leads into Fallon whipping out his guitar and jumping into a rousing rendition of “Balls in Your Mouth,” his original tune about an oil spill and the presence of tar balls in the ocean. Mid-song, the audience, watching Fallon hopping around among them, fails to notice musical guest Florence Welch (of group “Florence and the Machine”) slip onto the stage. It’s quite a surprise when Fallon calls out that she will be joining him on “Balls in Your Mouth.” While she’d been announced earlier as the evening’s musical guest, it’s still unexpected to see Welch spring into song with Fallon. Her powerhouse voice certainly added a new layer to the tune and the applause at the end of the performance was well-deserved. To watch this rendition of "Balls in Your Mouth," please click here.
Fallon’s appeal to all age groups in proven in the make-up of the audience in which there is a healthy mix of grandparents as well as those just over the 18 year age limit for the show. And, while there is no specific count given, the male to female ratio seemed at 50/50 as well. It takes quite a talent to entertainment on that many levels and keep everyone satisfied. Judging by the positive comments from the audience as they reluctantly exited the venue, it was clear that Fallon had done that on this night.
Three years may be a short time in the world of late night, but in the world of Jimmy Fallon, it seems like just the right amount of time to settle in a little bit while still sparking up plenty of new things for viewers to take in. Hopefully, this combination will be present at the five year mark, and dare it be said, at the ten year mark of “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” as well.
Keep making the fun candy, Jimmy, and viewers will no doubt keep coming to the candy store.
"Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" airs weeknights on NBC at 12:35am e/p.
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