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Jimmy Fallon's 'Tonight Show' debuts features big stars, performances

Jimmy Fallon's tenure as "The Tonight Show" host got underway on Monday, February 17 with guests Will Smith and U2.
Jimmy Fallon's tenure as "The Tonight Show" host got underway on Monday, February 17 with guests Will Smith and U2.

"The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon" Premiere


Jimmy Fallon’s debut as host of NBC’s long-running late night talk show “The Tonight Show” premiered on Monday, Feb. 17 with major guests, major cameos and major expectations.

Fallon kicked off his debut with a somewhat odd, but still entertaining and funny monologue. The odd part came in his seemingly prolonged introduction of himself and his show, which can probably be forgiven as he does have at least a partial new audience, with people tuning in who didn’t watch him on “Late Night.” However, when he basically explained to the audience what a monologue was things really went over the top. Trust me Fallon, you’re not the first guy to ever do one.

When he finally got to the jokes they were as funny as usual for Fallon, staying mostly on the topic of the Winter Olympics, which NBC has used to boost Fallon’s ‘Tonight Show’ premiere. The monologue included ‘Tonight Show Superlatives,’ the first bit that Fallon has transferred from ‘Late Night’ to “The Tonight Show” and hopefully just one of many that will make the transition.

Fallon’s monologue also included numerous cameos from celebrities whom the host claimed owed him $100 for saying he’d never be the host of “The Tonight Show” – these cameos included Fallon friends like Robert De Niro, Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan and other celebrities like Mariah Carey, Kim Kardashian, Seth Rogan, Joan Rivers and more. The funniest cameo coming from Stephen Colbert who paid off his bet with a bucket of $100 in pennies.

The first comedy bit on Fallon’s ‘Tonight Show’ was the “Evolution of Hip Hop Dancing” featuring guest star Will Smith where the duo hilariously ran through a list of some of the funniest and most memorable dance crazes of the last three decades.

Following the bit was a special performance by musical guest U2 from the very top of the Rockefeller Center, were “The Tonight Show” is filmed – the first time the show has aired in New York City in over 40 years since it debuted there. The group rocked through a performance of their newest single “Invisible.”

The performance was followed by an entertaining interview with Fallon’s first ‘Tonight Show’ guest Will Smith, who always proves to be one of the funniest and most entertaining late night talk show guests no matter whose show he’s on. This probably stems from the fact that Smith generally seems like one of the most likable celebrities in Hollywood.

Afterward, U2 joined Fallon for a short interview before an impressive acoustic performance of their Oscar-nominated song “Ordinary Love” from the film “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.”

Fallon’s premiere episode as ‘Tonight Show’ host went rather smoothly with big stars and big performances. There wasn’t a whole lot of time on the show with everything going along for a lot of big laughs, but knowing Fallon, those will be following shortly. I’m betting “The Tonight Show” is going to be the best it’s been since the days of Johnny Carson.

“The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon” can be seen locally on KARK Conway Corp. channel 4 on weeknights at 10:35 p.m.