The best and worst of Jimmy Fallon on ‘Tonight’ (so far)

02/21/2014 3:07 PM

02/21/2014 7:02 PM

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.

Here’s 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?)

THE GUESTS

Best: It’ll 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 Direction’s Harry Styles

apparently without the help of writers or rehearsal. She did at least have the hairstyle down.

THE JOKES

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-he’s-not-blind Stevie Wonder killed: “I just Skyped to say ”

THE BITS AND SKETCHES

Best: A spliced-together rendition of “Rapper’s 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 Carson’s “Tonight.” (He’s now in the same studio Carson occupied in New York.)

THE MUSIC

Best: Take your pick: Lady Gaga? Tim McGraw? Arcade Fire? For aesthetics alone, we’d go with U2’s performance high atop 30 Rock

. Don’t 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.

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