For the first time since rumors exploded about him potentially moving up an hour and hosting a modified version of “The Tonight Show” from New York City, Jimmy Fallon acknowledged the fact that the stories are out there on the Wednesday night edition of “Late Night.” What he did not do, however, was either confirm or deny them. Instead, Fallon opened the show by telling the following joke, which was far tamer than any of the recent comments Jay Leno has flung at NBC:
“Before we get started, I have to talk about the rumors that came out today that I’ll be moving up to 11:30 — or as my parents call it, still, too late. Actually the rumors are true; NBC is turning the Tonight Show into a diving competition.”
Joke-wise, there really wasn’t that much of a beginning or an end to this joke, and it was instead just trying to bring together two stories that are everywhere right now: the “Tonight Show” gossip, and the shocking news that nine million people seemingly watched “celebrities” fall off of a diving board for an hour.
What would Fallon bring to the table a little earlier in the evening? The obvious answer is more viral moments. He’s as modern a late-night host as there is, and he creates better sketches, pre-taped bits, or musical performances than anyone else. He also may potentially help NBC keep an advantage against Jimmy Kimmel and David Letterman when it comes to young viewers.
The disadvantages to Fallon at 11:34 (yes, that’s when this show starts) are pretty simple: he’s more a performer than he necessarily is a comedian, and sometimes his interviews come across as pandering. Then again, you need to be nice to your guests to get them to embarrass themselves in the way that they do here, and this style seems to want to make them come back more than they would elsewhere. It ultimately just depends on what you are looking for when it comes to an interview: while Kimmel loves to skewer both himself and his guests simultaneously, Letterman is the master of catching people off-guard and making them squirm.
Do you think that we could hear more about these rumors over the next few days? If you want to see what Leno had to say last night about the talk, you can do so over at the link here.