Fallon and Will Smith: Hip Hop Dance Steals Interview Spotlight
Fallon hit The Tonight Show’s new stage last night for the first time ever, undoubtedly feeling the pressure that comes with his debut performance after leaving the Late Night Show behind for good — and into the capable hands of Seth Meyers.
“This is the first Tonight Show broadcast in New York in over 40 years,” said Fallon in his opening monologue. “I’m Jimmy Fallon and I’ll be your host — for now,” he continued, making the customary riff about Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien. “I really don’t know how I got here. If you’d have told me as a kid that I was going to graduate high school and go on to be on Saturday Night Live and eventually be the host of The Tonight Show, I would have said ‘I graduated high school? That’s so not me.’” O’Brien had posted his congratulations and best wishes the day of the show to both Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers, saying that, “They’ll both do great,” meaning that hard feelings have faded, at least where Fallon is concerned.
Now, the reviews are coming in from last night’s show, and the few complaints are all basically to the same tune — Jimmy Fallon was too nice. “What a nice young man,” said the New York Times’ Alessandra Stanley dryly. “Jimmy Fallon introduced himself to viewers on Monday like a freshly licensed doctor taking over a retiring gerontologist’s practice.” Others shared the same criticism, but few held such a strong opinion on it. CNN’s Saeed Ahmed admitted that, “He was pretty subdued through” his introduction, but claimed that what followed made up for it. ”People always bring up Fallon’s niceness when they compare him to other late-night hosts. One the one hand, it’s a survival strategy,” said Darren Franich of Entertainment Weekly, who, on the other hand, said that he “glazed over for both segments of Smith’s interview.”
Finally, there’s USA Today’s Robert Bianco, who said that, “While gratitude and humility are admirable traits, there were times in Monday’s opening moments when Fallon risked taking them to uncomfortable extremes.”