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A Thank You Note for Jimmy Fallon

Thank you… for making The Tonight Show monologue your own.


Three months ago, when you took over the NBC late night franchise, many wondered how you would deal with the heavy burden of following the Jay Leno and Johnny Carson monologue format. The solution, as you have shown, was to sidestep their version of the news in favor of a broader, goofier and slightly shorter rundown.

Your populist approach begins each night with the refrain, “Here’s what people are talking about.” Cleverly, that leads you to talk about everything under the one-liner sun. Not just politicians, pundits and Presidents but also YouTube videos, last night’s TV programs and more. It’s an approach that basically combines the best of Leno and Kimmel.

With the added, frequent bonus of callback monologue impressions. Neither Leno nor Kimmel can do, for example, a mean Chris Rock. But you can, and so when Rock flew into your jokes about the latest scandalous photos of Toronto mayor Rob Ford, it was comedy gold.  There was, suddenly, the specter of Rock, riffing about the humiliation of being caught with “basement crack”… “Not even upstairs crack”…  ”Not even half-a-star on Yelp crack.”

Finally, as we’ve noted before, your nightly monologue back-and-forths with announcer Steve Higgins are sublime. Here, the Tonight Show predecessor that comes to mind is the one that very briefly involved Andy Richter. So thank you, Jimmy, Higgins, and keep up the great work.

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