Jimmy Fallon has finally made it to the top of the food chain in the late night television race and now it is time to evaluate how he did. To be fair, Monday night was his first night on “The Tonight Show,” as he stepped in to fill the big shoes Jay Leno left behind. But he had better step up his game if he wants to stay in his cushy spot at the top.
Despite a parade of celebrities like Mariah Carey and Lady Gaga stopping by to welcome Jimmy Fallon to the new show and the coveted time slot, it felt a little off. He landed the job because he is funny and seemed like a good choice to take over the helm of the long-running show. It fell a little flat. Twitter users expressed their disinterest in the show with many of them being unable to get past the opening monologue. That tends to be where the jokes are delivered and Fallon has always done that in the past on his other late, late show, but not this time. For Monday night’s episode, he opened with a biographical monologue. It was dry and something that you would expect to read in a book. Anybody who was hoping to get to sleep at a decent hour was probably able to do so after watching those first few minutes.
It did pick up a bit later with special guest Will Smith stopping by to give Jimmy Fallon a little education on the evolution of hip-hop dancing. It was funny and entertaining and typical of the old Jimmy fans fell in love with. His musical guest was U2, who came by to sing their latest single, Invisible. The best part of their performance was the view behind the band. A gorgeous view of the New York City skyline kept viewers entertained with colorful lights while U2 did their thing.
Jimmy Fallon’s opening monologue was clearly meant as a mission statement and was designed to remind people that he is a nice guy. He has always been known for his niceness and ability to treat everybody fairly. And he is humble and appreciates the Big Apple and showed that appreciation by moving the show back to NYC. He knows his time in the chair could have a short life. We all remember the debacle with Conan O’Brien and Jay Leno a few years back. Audiences are finicky and networks have no problem taking back what they have given.
Hopefully, his second night will be a little more relaxed and fun. He cannot continue with the drab opening monologues. People will be changing the channel quicker than he can blink. Kristin Wiig and Jerry Seinfeld will be on the show. That should give Jimmy Fallon plenty of material to work with and you would think with that many comedians on one stage, it will be entertaining. Good luck to Jimmy and anybody who decides to give him another shot after that less-than-exiting opening night.