Jimmy Fallon, his first 'Late Night': Let's hear it for an ultra-ordinary guy! | EW.com

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Jimmy Fallon, his first 'Late Night': Let's hear it for an ultra-ordinary guy!

Jimmyfallon_dl

Jimmyfallon_dl
Well, we can hope Jimmy Fallon got the most awkward moment of his first week out of the way last night: Impersonating Robert De Niro while the actor sat next to him, and then asking De Niro for approval: “That was pretty good, right?” Oh dear…

Everyone’s first day on the job is bound to be a bit awkward, and even though Fallon has spent months trying out ideas for Late Night on his website, he still looked nervous, his eyes locked onto the cue cards more frequently than at us. He did an ultra-ordinary monologue – one liners about President Obama and the deficit that sounded like material Jay Leno’s writers had faxed over from L.A. He tried to tweak the material by enlisting his house band, The Roots, to accompany him in a little segment he likes to call “Slow Jammin’ The News,” which consisted of Fallon and the band sing-speaking more topical jokes. There was also an audience-participation segment, “Lick It For Ten,” in which a few folks from the crowd came onstage to lick things like a lawn mower and a goldfish bowl, and Fallon gave them each ten bucks. The host didn’t display much rapport with ordinary citizens. Again, probably just opening-night nerves. As for De Niro:

The interview might have gone better if it hadn’t been scripted to within an inch of its life. Then again, given how monosyllabic De Niro tends to be, maybe not. There was also a very brief bit: Fallon and De Niro in the movie-we-never-knew-they-made-yuk-yuk, Space Train, with De Niro reading off a cue card, being a good sport. Being a good sport is not all that entertaining a pose to maintain.

Thank heaven for Justin Timberlake, Fallon’s next guest. The guy is such a relaxed, confident pro, the atmosphere energized and relaxed simultaneously. Fallon seemed truly thrilled to see his Saturday Night Live sketch-pal, and laughed with genuine, grateful appreciation when Timberlake busted out excellent John Mayer and Michael McDonald impersonations. This, and the closing-credit seconds, when Fallon hopped into the audience to greet two people I assume were his parents because we saw signs that said “Mom” and “Dad” over their heads, were the host’s most winning moments.

Van Morrison came out and rumbled through an Astral Weeks number and Fallon rattled off the week’s upcoming guests, who will include Tina Fey and Cameron Diaz.

Meanwhile, Craig Ferguson was over on CBS as loose as a goose, referring to himself winkily as “the Scottish Conan guy” and getting Paris Hilton to talk about her (as Ferguson called them) “farty dogs.”

Since even Ferguson has implored people not to judge Fallon by his first few shows, I’ll conclude with something positive. I like the way Fallon turns to the Roots and says, “?uestlove, give me a little noise.” Maybe pretty soon, he’ll relax a bit and make some spontaneous, amusing noise himself.

What did you think? Will you keeping watching Fallon?

More on Jimmy Fallon: The New King of ‘Late Night’

The interview might have gone better if it hadn’t been scripted to within an inch of its life. Then again, given how monosyllabic De Niro tends to be, maybe not. There was also a very brief bit: Fallon and De Niro in the movie-we-never-knew-they-made-yuk-yuk, Space Train, with De Niro reading off a cue card, being a good sport. Being a good sport is not all that entertaining a pose to maintain.

Thank heaven for Justin Timberlake, Fallon’s next guest. The guy is such a relaxed, confident pro, the atmosphere energized and relaxed simultaneously. Fallon seemed truly thrilled to see his Saturday Night Live sketch-pal, and laughed with genuine, grateful appreciation when Timberlake busted out excellent John Mayer and Michael McDonald impersonations. This, and the closing-credit seconds, when Fallon hopped into the audience to greet two people I assume were his parents because we saw signs that said “Mom” and “Dad” over their heads, were the host’s most winning moments.

Van Morrison came out and rumbled through an Astral Weeks number and Fallon rattled off the week’s upcoming guests, who will include Tina Fey and Cameron Diaz.

Meanwhile, Craig Ferguson was over on CBS as loose as a goose, referring to himself winkily as “the Scottish Conan guy” and getting Paris Hilton to talk about her (as Ferguson called them) “farty dogs.”

Since even Ferguson has implored people not to judge Fallon by his first few shows, I’ll conclude with something positive. I like the way Fallon turns to the Roots and says, “?uestlove, give me a little noise.” Maybe pretty soon, he’ll relax a bit and make some spontaneous, amusing noise himself.

What did you think? Will you keeping watching Fallon?

More on Jimmy Fallon: The New King of ‘Late Night’