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Another Portland Blog

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

 

A mighty big pompadour to fill

I saw the first episode of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and it wasn't quite as terrible as I was expecting. The set, especially the curtain, which may as well be the same one Carson used, looks fantastic and there will never be a better late night house band than the Roots. The opening bit with Conan was good but the rest fell pretty flat. You can watch the entire episode over here.

Fallon looked genuinely terrified and his interview with Robert De Niro was one of the most awkward since Chevy Chase's short stint as a late night host for Fox in the early '90s. Not that De Niro even bothered to phone it in, forcing Fallon to break out a pre-prepared collection of easy questions specifically designed for the actor's inevitable monosyllabic responses. Couldn't the show's producers have just brought Justin Timberlake out for the full interview segment?

The first episode played more like The Tonight Show With Jay Leno than Late Night with Conan O'Brien. It was too stiff, too forced and it played it too safe. Where was the quirky humor and the "we don't care" swagger of Letterman and O'Brien? Of course, O'Brien's stint at Late Night required years before he hit his stride but, then again, Fallon doesn't have his wit. So far, all he seems to have is the same rushed, slurred delivery that haunted him during his "Weekened Update" days and all that nervous blinking.

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