Has Jimmy Fallon reinvented the late-night talk show? Nah. A (male) host still does a monologue, sits at a desk in front of a skyline and banters with his (male) announcer. But the boyish Fallon does seem to get a kick out of his guests, and some of the funny business is inspired.
By TIM ENGLE
The Kansas City Star
Heres our report card on his first week on Tonight. (Catch it at its regular post-Olympics time, 10:34 p.m., starting Monday on NBC.)
P.S. Fellow SNL alum Seth Meyers begins hosting Late Night at 11:36 p.m. Monday. His old SNL co-anchor Amy Poehler is a guest. (Can you tell SNL guru Lorne Michaels is now producing all of NBC late night?)
Best: Itll probably be hard to top Justin Timberlake when he stops by Tonight on Friday. Supremely watchable so far: the Thursday combo of first lady Michelle Obama and Will Ferrell. (The Ew! sketch, a sendup of a Teen Nick show, had its moments.)
Obama told Fallon that 15-year-old daughter Malia is about to start driving: Ladies and gentlemen in D.C., watch out Malia Obama on the road!
Ferrell came out in tux, tights and white gloves as a disgruntled figure skater: No one bothered to tell me when the (Olympic) tryouts were.
Worst: Yet another SNL-er, Kristen Wiig, pretending to be One Directions Harry Styles apparently without the help of writers or rehearsal. She did at least have the hairstyle down.
Best: Jerry Seinfeld doing standup. Some of us, he joked, scroll through our cellphone contacts like a gay French king: Who shall I favor? Who shall I delete?
Worst: Fallon tends to fall down in the monologue. (On his first show, he felt compelled to explain what a monologue is. Uh, got it, Jimmy.) But a Thursday night joke about a what- if-hes-not-blind Stevie Wonder killed: I just Skyped to say
THE BITS AND SKETCHES
Best: A spliced-together rendition of Rappers Delight, composed of words uttered by Brian Williams and Lester Holt on NBC Nightly News.
Runners-up: Guests including Bradley Cooper and Emma Thompson playing charades; Fallon joking with kid inventors, something right out of Johnny Carsons Tonight. (Hes now in the same studio Carson occupied in New York.)
Best: Take your pick: Lady Gaga? Tim McGraw? Arcade Fire? For aesthetics alone, wed go with U2s performance high atop 30 Rock. Dont look down!
Worst: Kristen Wiig as Styles again, trying to sing One Direction.
What do you think of the new Tonight show? Let us know in the comments.
To reach Tim Engle, call 816-234-4779 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @tim_engle