In a profile of Jimmy Fallon published today in the New York Times, The Tonight Show host addresses why his comedy has been more apolitical than his peers Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers.
Things apparently aren’t going so well over at The Tonight Show, which has reportedly seen a ratings decline in recent months. Meanwhile Colbert, who has explicitly gone after and joked often about the Trump administration on his show, has closed “a gap of nearly one million viewers.” The Tonight Show showrunner Josh Lieb also left the show in the fall and the head writer A. D. Miles left in the spring, two losses that Fallon chalks up to “growing pains.”
The biggest growing pain facing Fallon seems to be his soft comedic style full of games and recurring celebrity bits, which feels goofy and annoyingly tame in the aftermath of the 2017 election. He was at his worst when he had Donald Trump on the show in September and instead of asking him pointed questions instead ruffled his hair like an excited schoolboy.
Fallon responds to the criticism (which he seems to think originated entirely from Twitter alone) with a sort of non-apology, later saying he regrets never saying anything more about the Trump segment.
“They have a right to be mad,” a chastened Mr. Fallon said in an interview this month. “If I let anyone down, it hurt my feelings that they didn’t like it. I got it.”
If there’s one thing clear in the Fallon profile it’s that the host will not be changing his comedic style even if his ratings are currently dropping. Repeatedly he makes it clear that he doesn’t really give a shit if viewers seem to want a more left-leaning political tone. “I never, ever care,” he says. “I’ll know when someone fires me.”
“I don’t want to be bullied into not being me, and not doing what I think is funny,” he said more defiantly. “Just because some people bash me on Twitter, it’s not going to change my humor or my show.”
Ultimately, Mr. Fallon concluded that his only recourse is to keep doing the show he has been doing. “I tossed and turned for a couple of weeks, but I have to make people laugh,” he said. “People that voted for Trump watch my show as well.”
The segments he loves best, Mr. Fallon said, are dispensable morsels of “brain candy — when people go, ‘That’s cool that they put this much thought into such a dumb, silly bit.’”
Fallon is sticking with the fluff!
Well, when America finally turns into a dystopic wasteland and our constitution is replaced with a 4chan thread, I bet we will all settle down by the fire we’ve been forced to make using old Planned Parenthood pamphlets as kindling and think, I’m so glad Jimmy Fallon took the time to stage all those lip-sync battles, oh how I miss them so.