Jimmy Fallon mentioned in NY Mag

Here is an excerpt.  Go to NY Mag for the full article.


Now let’s imagine The Jay Leno Show. One acknowledged goal of this new, five-times-a-week prime-time talk-variety program is to be “DVR-proof”: It’s appointment TV that can react quickly to the news of the day. Leno’s already hinted that, in addition to trusty old bits like his Jaywalking street interviews, his new show will feature stunts like having celebrities—say, Shaq and Cameron Diaz—race each other around a track. (I got less interested in this when I learned they’d be doing this in cars, not on foot or horseback.) But in formulating this show, Leno’s main pitch seems to be: It’s more of the Leno you love. Which is to say, more of Leno aping Carson. I’d argue that he should turn his eye, at least for a moment, to a different model: Jimmy Fallon, of all people.

Fallon’s Late Night has been a moderate ratings success, and after the requisite shaky first week, the flop sweat’s evaporated nicely. In its place, we have Fallon, who understands that his audience is both young (ergo, gags about beer pong) and just as likely to be watching his show sometime in the future minced up into digital bits. So he serves up gimmicky nuggets like Head Swap—a smart send-up of traditional late-night celebrity bits—and elaborate self-contained production numbers like his Tu-Spock rap video. Not all these bits are ringers, of course. But Fallon seems to understand that the modern role of the late-night host is to act more like the ringleader for a three-ring circus of modular gags and less like a master of ceremonies for the nation’s bedtime rituals.

SNL (Fallon’s prep school) lucked into its Internet-friendly format, and Letterman, who now wears his king-of-late-night irascibility like a perfectly tailored tuxedo, has evolved, as a by-product, into a kind of YouTube-friendly factory of clips (as with his brilliant Joaquin Phoenix interview). It’s a lesson Leno and Conan still have to learn. Carson was king, but he ruled another age. The late-night host can no longer act the part of the classic suave bachelor, the guy who smoothly seduces you, sweeps you into the sheets, then never once has to worry about keeping you entertained during daylight hours.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: