Late Night with Jimmy Fallon: A Review

I just watched the live pilot telecast of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last Tuesday. I have seen this SNL alum in action many times and he is a spectacular comedian that’s why I was expecting him to be great as a talk show host as well. However, I soon found out that there is a fine line between being good at at starring in hilarious sketches and hosting a late night show… in New York, no less.

Conan O’Brien, the show’s former host is one tough act to follow and Jimmy might have jumped into the gig a bit too early. Being a long time fan of Conan O’Brien’s brand of comedy,  I felt that there was something lacking with the new show but seeing Jimmy’s lengthy resume, I’m pretty sure he was a worthy replacement.

I noticed a few things that made the pilot episode a hugeass dud. Usually, the show starts off by a long monologue about current events with scathing jokes interjected every now and then. In Jimmy’s case, he started off pretty underwhelming with tepid jokes (except for the brilliant bit about Microsoft) that hardly registered any chuckles from the audience.

One thing that shed a glaring light that the show was going downhill was when the show was about to take a short break, Jimmy actually said “Stick around, we’ll be right back… Please!” Like, he just knew some people watching in their home were just about ready to flip the remote and tune in to HBO instead.

On a positive note, he did have a great line up of guests. Robert DeNiro, Justin Timberlake and Van Morrison appeared on the show. However, it was the part where he was interviewing the guests that gave a clear impression on how nervous Jimmy was.. or how bored Robert DeNiro was with the whole thing, for that matter. Jimmy couldn’t convey his thoughts and questions towards the guests right and he sounded totally unsure when to inject humor the whole time he was talking to Robert and Justin. The unfunny sketch he did together with Robert right after the break didn’t help much to lighten up the show. One unforgettable WTF moment in that segment was, as Jimmy was trading banters with Justin, he got totally disoriented with the flow of the interview that he blurted out, “I’m lost” while frantically checking the index cards laid out in his desk! There were also minor booboos with the audio during Van Morrison’s performance but hey, this is the pilot episode, everyone was probably jumpy.

It was obviously a daunting experience for Jimmy as he has huge shoes to fill but I wasn’t expecting the show to start out with such lackluster result. The show’s unimpressiveness made me miss former host, goofball Conan and his ridiculously glorious hairdo! I really felt bad for Jimmy because that gig was probably one of the most harrowing experience of his career and unfortunately, it reflected on his performance.

Despite a disappointing beginning, I have high hopes that the show is bound to improve after a few weeks. Everyone on the show just needs to regain their footing and come up with fresh, hilarious materials to really get the show rolling. As for the host, he needs to loosen, work on his showmanship and learn to connect effectively with the audience.