Jimmy Fallon looks like he rarely has a bad day. Some find that maddening. Truly, that’s the biggest knock I can find against the guy. He seems to enjoy his job, and wants everyone to be a part of his big, goofy, smiling endeavors. We don’t even need to link anything for you. Just Google ‘Jimmy Fallon Skit’ (or Bing, I guess, dweeb), and you are going to stumble into something that will elicit a smile.
I think, deep down, part of me resented Mr. Fallon because he is quite literally living the dream. By all accounts, Jimmy Fallon is an affable goofball, a charming class clown, who has wanted little else throughout his life than to make people giggle. He more often than not succeeds. I do not know the man, but Brian and I have been fans of his work for some time. He seems like the kind of friend you want at your dinner party. A nice guy, who does killer impressions, whose energy is sort of contagious – actually contagious. You cannot help but join in, even if you’re just dipping a toe into the fun. And Fallon must be a nice guy – there is NO WAY all these famous people would come on his show(s) and be so silly if he was not.
He was often a bad skit-member on SNL because he couldn’t stop laughing. He and Horatio Sanz used to try and get each other to crack back in the day, and there are few better sketches than when they succeed. Jimmy Fallon has been and continues to be happy with what he does. He was a perfect foil to Tina Fey’s sharp, acerbic wit on the Weekend Update desk, the smirking class clown giggling behind Liz Lemon.
We at GWW have been guilty on a few occasions of leaving things as “it’s hard to place…” and I wanted to think deeper on this subject. Why do we all like Jimmy Fallon? I thought we were a generation of snarky, hipster cynics, a nation of Debbie Downers, especially when it comes to the fickle game of celebrity. Why does the president come on and slow jam the news (be quiet for a second, cynics and plotters)? Why do he and the first lady genuinely seem to get along? Yes, there are political reasons, but they’ve done some silly crap on his show – there’s a level of comfort there. Have you seen some of the things he and celebrities did on the old show?
…and they all seem to be having a really, really good time! Jimmy Fallon figured out pretty quickly (even based on a cursory glance at his bio, folks) that he both wanted to be an entertainer and was also quite good at it. That’s the easiest reason to explain why he and Justin Timberlake are real-life, awesome friends, and also quite the dynamic duo. Though they come at entertainment from slightly different angles, they are entertainers to the core, hams looking for the opportunity to show off -in the best way (let’s also note, Mr. Fallon is quite musically talented in his own right).
Fallon appears to be humbled and genuinely excited to be in his position. How many of us can say that? Even if you want to linger on the negative, the PR spin and backroom wheelings of those in the spotlight presenting themselves, Fallon deserves credit. On some level, whether he communicates it explicitly or not, people come on his show (from POTUS to Drake) because they know they’ll be presented in the warm, goofy light of Fallon. We should all be so lucky.
The skits have the same energy and vibe as home videos. You know, the ones you and your siblings, you and your relatives at a reunion, you and your buddies put toghether when you were younger. There is such glee in his creations, his impressions, the party games, even his movements seem like an excitable kid. You want to tell your friends about Brian Williams rapping. You want to lick it for $10 (never ceases to crack me up). You’re dying to see celebrities be great at Charades or be shockingly good at lip-syncing. They throw themselves into bits with the same enthusiasm as Fallon, so you have to assume they’re having a bit of fun doing so.
Maybe we all secretly aren’t so mean, are not so hardened. Maybe millions have tuned in this initial week (after doing well in his old gig, mind you) and share Fallon’s skits around because we all like a good chuckle, a bemused smile. Because that’s the thing about Fallon – he’s not the funniest side-splitting comedian you’ll ever see. He’s not racy or wild. His show is a party – and everyone’s invited.
Your mom likes it (heh.). Your dad thinks he’s funny. So does your barber, your professor, your little sister, the hot dog guy, your accountant, that guy just kinda standing, staring at the library and Emilio Estevez (presumably).
Rarely is someone so widely accepted. Look at some of the others filling the Late-Night-Talk-Show nebula. The man he replaces was never funny (Sorry, Leno fans. His shtick did stink.). David Letterman is so past his prime they really ought to put him out to pasture. Craig Ferguson, while hilarious, will not be everyone’s cup of tea. Conan wears thin on people, though he can match Fallon on production value of a sketch. The also-hysterical Jimmy Kimmel comes closest to Fallon’s overall nice-guy appeal, but there’s a layer of irony, a more acerbic tone to much of the show. Jimmy Fallon’s a great fit because, like Johnny Carson, even if you don’t watch him, you can’t help but sort of like him.
Tune in to the Tonight Show with Mr. Fallon. The goofy charm will envelop you. He’s even stated that his goal is to have people go to bed smiling. In a world that can often bog us all down, that, in my book, is a very noble goal.
An Important Addendum:
AND HE GETS TO HANG OUT WITH THE LEGENDARY ROOTS?!?!
The post was about Fallon and his overall likability but I would be remiss if I did not at least mention the added wrinkle of the Roots being his house band. I am not exaggerating one iota when I tell you the first time I heard the Roots back in Middle School was the first day I remember thinking I knew what was cool. They are, without a doubt, some of the most interesting, talented, intelligent musicians in the world today. The fact that they, too, are so enthusiastically a part of the show only lends more credibility to Mr. Fallon’s fun-loving vibes. Long live the Roots.