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'The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon': Debut disappoints

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"The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon" got off to a weird start with Fallon coming out and basically giving a talk rather than a traditional monologue as viewers to "The Tonight Show" are accustomed. After telling the audience that he is 39 years old, is married and has a 6-month-old baby, he acknowledged his parents in the audience. The parent-acknowledgement could have worked, but camera shots going from Fallon to his parents repeatedly - with his father, who unsuccessfully tried to say something on several occasions - failed.

When Fallon’s long-time sidekick Steve Higgins tried to interject a comment after Fallon introduced him and called him his best friend, Fallon very abruptly and awkwardly cut him off. Whether it was out of nervousness or whether it was supposed to be funny, it came across as totally rude and awkward. From the sidekick’s reaction, it was definitely not expected that Fallon would rudely cut him off from speaking during the opening segment. The feeling was Fallon was telling the sidekick announcer, ‘Hey, this is MY show – NOT yours!’ Again, it was rudely awkward – very, very awkward.

After the lackluster opening in which he said he hopes to bring a smile to people before they go to bed – which is a nice thought – he exited behind the curtain behind him and was reintroduced by Higgins. Fallon came out and delivered a monologue. It was nothing spectacular for an opening night. He has done much better in the past. During the monologue, he had face shots of Olympians shown as he delivered insults to them. What?

Fallon gushingly introduced the band The Roots to his new time slot’s audience, and moved on to the first guest of the night, Will Smith. Rather than Smith starting with the sit-down interview with Fallon, he appeared in an alleged comedy skit about the history of hip-hop which didn’t exactly die on stage – but it wasn’t anything near what one would call “opening night spectacular.” It really wasn’t all that funny.

Fallon took a moment to thank Spike Lee for helping produce the opening of the new show. One would think that Spike Lee would have preferred not to have been mentioned. Again, after all the incredible hype that has been given to the new show, it wasn’t anything spectacular. If Spike Lee was in charge, it would have been wise for him to stop the taping of the show and start over - and, who knows, maybe he did?

There was a bit which ended up being one of two saving graces for the premier of Fallon’s “Tonight Show.” He said that back in the day some people bet him one-hundred dollars that he would never be “The Tonight Show” host. Following that comment, a parade of top stars came out and tossed a hundred dollar bill on his desk – as if they were the ones who thought he’d never make it.

The stars included Stephen Colbert who was the last star to come out. Colbert chose to dump one hundred dollars worth of pennies on Fallon instead of a $100 bill. Colbert also flashed his comedic smile and took a selfie of himself and Fallon after shouting to Fallon: “Welcome to 11:30, bitch!” Other stars who paraded in from behind the curtain to be part of the bit were Lady Gaga, Mike Tyson, Tina Fey, Joe Namath, Rudy Giuliani, Sarah Jessica Parker and Lindsay Lohan. Fallon never seems to have trouble getting stars to support him with his antics on his shows.

Other than the $100 bill bit which lasted several minutes, the other entertaining moment of the show was U2 featuring Bono doing a song acoustically at the end of the show. That musical part of the show was amazing.

During and after the first night of “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” Twitter lit up with diverse opinions, including many – if not most – comments saying that they were missing Jay Leno, yet wished Fallon the best.

As Fallon said during the opening of the show, he’s the new host of the show – for now.

Fallon is having no problem getting big names on his show during its opening weeks. Michelle Obama will be a guest on the show Thursday night.

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