backlash to the backlash

We’re Not Yet Committed to Hating ‘Late Night With Jimmy Fallon,’ Necessarily

Photo illustration: Everett Bogue; Photos: Getty
Images, Courtesy of NBC

According to reports this morning, Jimmy Fallon will get his long-discussed NBC talk show, replacing Conan O’Brien at Late Night this fall when O’Brien leaves to host The Tonight Show. Our first reaction to the original rumors was one of mild surprise (an unfunny person hosting a talk show? What’s next — a giraffe riding a bicycle?!), but while we’re no fans of his movies, music, or hosting appearances at various MTV awards shows, we’re not married to the idea of hating his talk show, necessarily.

Despite much evidence to the contrary, he’s not an untalented guy. For starters, there’s the “The Barry Gibb Show,” which, in addition to being his crowning achievement during his time on Saturday Night Live, was actually pretty funny (as others have recently pointed out). But, as you may recall, he actually had two other fake talk shows on SNL which weren’t bad either — “Z105 With Joey Mack,” in which he capably portrayed an obnoxious morning-radio D.J., and “Jarret’s Room,” in which he capably portrayed our obnoxious college roommate. He took criticism for flubbing lines and laughing through terrible sketches, but surely his ability to crack up at unfunny things can only work to his advantage when he’s interviewing unfunny Hollywood celebrities bumbling their way through unfunny anecdotes, right? Listen, give the guy some good writers, a decent bandleader, and a masturbating bear, and we bet he can throw together something good enough to appear on television at 12:30 a.m. Perfectly reasonable talk shows have been forged with lesser materials than that. (Jimmy Kimmel’s, for instance.)

Just for the hell of it, here’s Fallon doing an awesome French Stewart impression on “Celebrity Jeopardy”:

We’re Not Yet Committed to Hating ‘Late Night With Jimmy Fallon,’ Necessarily