Wednesday, March 4, 2009

“Fallon on His Face” A Comics view of Jimmy Fallon’s first late night

By Jeff Schaeffer

“Jimmy come on in,” a high powered NBC exec must have said. “ If your not too busy we’d like you to host the Late Night show. You know take over for Conan and we’d like you to do it tomorrow!" That would be the only excuse Jimmy Fallon would have for such a meager debut in the illustrious 12:30 time slot.

I was ten years old and sitting in the back room of a stranger's house while my dad’s rock band was practicing Scorpion tunes in the other room. I found a cassette recorder and a microphone and for the next three hours I filled that tape with interviews from the hot new show, “Late Night with Jeff Schaeffer.” It was my half of the interviews and my own laughter in response to the interviewees hilarious and imaginary retorts. My dad opened the door to take me home he caught the end of my first opening monologue. It ended with a killer joke about me dating the older 1992 Olympic gymnasts, all of them. It was gold. As you can see the job of late night talk show host is very important to me. In fact its my dream job.

The best part should have been the monologue; that should have been easy. I expected to see WEEKEND UPDATE just standing up and all by himself but I was disappointed from the get go. He started awkwardly and amidst his stammering and sweating the audience walked all over him with over supportive yelps and screams. It may not be fair to compare him to Jay Leno because the monologue is his forte, but I’ll do it anyway. When Jay is up there the show runs at his cadence, every word that comes out his mouth is planned and nothing happens by accident. Fallon had months to prepare for this first show, and it felt as if we were watching a dress rehearsal. The jokes were adequate, but I would rather have heard them from the drummer of The Roots.

The Roots were the best part of the show and were a creative idea that got me excited about commercial breaks. They were incorporated at the end of monologue when he “ slow jammed the news.” It was a great idea, and I hope to see it again just with better punch lines. That seems to be the detail I was waiting for the whole night, I guess that’s just Jimmy’s humor, no punch lines. Take the skit, “ People licking things for ten dollars.” I can’t even fathom what I was suppose to laugh at, there was just no point, but yet it happened three times. For the smart people who missed the show, the skit was just as lame as it sounds, he brought three people in from the crowd and they licked lawn mowers, and fish bowls, and a copy machine. Then Fallon would give them ten dollars, that’s it. Months to prepare for your big night, your first sketch and that’s all we get. I feel insulted. Maybe next week someone will wheel out Andy Richter topless and Jimmy Fallon will have to lick that. That would be hilarious.

Perhaps Robert De Niro wasn’t the best actor to have as your first guest, as a matter of fact I’d rather watch that new Filet O’ Fish commercial ten times before watching him give an interview but I think Fallon has a man crush on him. After hard hitting questions such as, “ How are you?” and “ How are you feeling?” Jimmy Fallon told a story about himself and Jack Nicolson at a Yankees game. With the always entertaining Justin Timberlake Fallon spent five minutes telling stories that started with, “ remember that time on Saturday Night Live?” While none of this was funny it did spark memories of something funny. The whole thing was very reminiscent of the Chris Farley SNL skit where he would interview big time celebs like Paul McCartney and never ask a question that could have a good response. Farley would ask “Remember that time you wrote the song HELP!?" In fact thinking of Farley was the first time I laughed during the Jimmy Fallon show and dejectedly it was the last.

Someone out there likes Jimmy Fallon and that same person probably thought he did a great job last night. I'm having trouble finding this person but based on the fact that he got this job handed to him on a golden platter, I know this person exists. My biggest fear is that this person is Lorne Michaels and because of this I think we are all going to have to deal with his Fallonisms for longer than we should have to. Maybe he’ll just get better. I guess its possible. If that happens you’ll have to let me know because I can't stand to watch someone muddle up my dream job.

In the mean time I’ll keep working on my Olympic jokes, although at my age jokes about the gymnasts are highly inappropriate.

-Jeff Schaeffer

No comments:

Blog Archive