Jimmy Fallon’s best ‘Tonight Show’ moments

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 19: Host Jimmy Fallon of the television show 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon' speaks during the NBC portion of the 2014 Television Critics Association Press Tour at the Langham Hotel on January 19, 2014 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
The first episode of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” aired Monday night. Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

It happened, guys. This is our time. The Millennials took over the asylum.

OK, so Jimmy Fallon himself is solidly Gen X, but surely we can all agree that his affable, goofy sense of humor makes him the late night host for the Twitter generation. Last night he ascended to the ultimate throne, prying the crown from the white-knuckled grip of Jay Leno to become the host of “The Tonight Show.”

So how’d he do? Not bad! For those familiar with his work on “Late Night,” it felt like basically the same show, with a much more excited host and audience. The Roots were the same amount of excited, as always.

Here are a few of my favorite moments.

1. The first moments

Fallon, who was born for this job, is so sweetly excited that you can’t help but be on his side as he introduces his new “Tonight Show.” He also opens with a swipe at Leno, which instantly won my heart. For some reason he also feels the need to explain what a monologue joke is, which, now that I think about it, may also be a swipe at Leno.

2. The monologue

From Fallon’s standpoint, this monologue is nothing special. His Olympics-centric jokes are pretty funny, but his show has always shone more with its zany desk bits than its traditional setup-punchline zingers. Still, if you compare it to his predecessor’s stale, humor-free joke simulacra, Fallon’s a breath of fresh air.

3. ‘The Evolution of Hip-Hop’

Speaking of zany bits, here’s one that carries over from Jimmy’s old show: “The Evolution of Dancing.” This time it’s hip-hop, and Fallon is joined by Will Smith.

4. $100 bets

“To my friend who bet me I’d never be the host of the Tonight Show — you know who you are — you owe me $100, buddy,” and then a six-minute parade of “buddies,” who when you’re Jimmy Fallon are actually famous celebrities, come out to give him a hundo, including Lindsay Lohan, Kim Kardashian, Tina Fey, Rudy Giuliani, Seth Rogen and more. Leno’s last guest was Billy Crystal.

Poor old Leno. Has any cultural institution ever retired to so little fanfare or acclaim? But I suppose he can take comfort in the fact that NBC will probably replace Fallon with him in a few months.


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