Monday, March 03, 2014

So Do We Watch the Tonight Show Now?

J turned to me the other night and said, "Wait, do we watch The Tonight Show now?"
"Huh," I responded, "I think we're probably old enough."
"I think this marks a rite of passage."
"I think we're your parents now."

Jimmy Fallon took over The Tonight Show a week or two ago, ending twenty years of not watching The Tonight Show. J was raised with Carson's Tonight Show, while, as we have covered here before, I was raised without television like some sort of feral, godless animal.

Even after my family got a TV, I was never allowed to stay up to watch The Tonight Show, because my parents never watched it (presumably because they were always reading the newest translation of some mid-20th century Russian novelist.) As soon as I was old enough to make the choice to watch The Tonight Show, Carson signed off and Leno took over. The next twenty-two years were filled with, at best, a profoundly mediocre Tonight Show and at worst, the same terrible jokes piled up over and over so as to create a galling Hellscape of depressive humor. I don't think I could watch a single show straight through without wanting to denounce television as a bland tool of cultural oppression and move to translate my own Russian novel.

But I really like Jimmy Fallon. And the Roots? COME ON, it's THE ROOTS. It occurred to me that Jimmy has a lot more in common with Steve Allen, the original Tonight Show host, with his musical talent and easy humor. Jimmy can actually play instruments and hold a note, an asset long absent from late night. Music and musicians are important to him, which I respect. Jimmy isn't just a standup, he does character work, skits, and, of course, competitive games.

We're in for a lot of fun.


Sheri said...

We love watching it too.

Emily Foley said...

I'm crazy about Jimmy. My husband went to NYC for work last year and skipped his class to wait in the stand-by line for late-night tickets. He was the first one there and got in. The guest wasn't great (Sarah Silverman) but he said the Roots were incredible and he could've spent hours sitting and listening to them play. They couldn't have chose a better guy for the Tonight Show. I LOVE it.

Whitney said...

We've turned a corner and are all now rabid fans. Jimmy is, as you stated, a very versatile comedian and warm, human and easy to let into your living room. And the Roots are indeed, the baddest band in da land. I loved Carson, couldn't abide Leno #hellscapeofdepressivehumor- and now, Jimmy is my boo. Great post m'dear!

Jenny said...

I am a lover of Jimmy Fallon and The Roots.