The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon 11/16 Recap


While Colbert designed his entire Monday show to address world crisis and the tragedy in Paris, Fallon’s Tonight Show began as business as usual. It wasn’t until he completed the monologue and got to the desk that he addressed the terror attacks. Fallon usually reserves that time to address more serious issues than comedy and Monday’s show was no exception.


There was plenty of material for Fallon to take advantage of in his monologue. This weekend’s Democratic Presidential Debate provided multiple clips and sound bites for jokes. Fallon has arguably the strongest monologues in late night television. He’s a natural, and his riffing with Higgins after the punchline pride just as many laughs as the punchline themselves.

To the Desk

Guitarist and Singer John Pizzarelli stood in to play with The Roots to promote his new album. After getting the promotion out of the way, Fallon said some words to everyone affected by the tragedy in Paris. “We are different people from who we were at 4 o’clock on Friday,” said Fallon. “The best way to show support is to live.” He says the attacks have brought us all closer than we’ve ever been. Well said.

“In Reply To”

Tonight’s desk segment was the yawn-inducing “In Reply To” where Fallon shows fictitious tweets from famous people and shows other fictitious tweets they the celebrity tweet is replying to. The problem with the format is that the jokes hit you with the punchline before the setup. Often times, the joke is predictable. For instance, a fictitious tweet from Ben Carson said, “Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy to name a few.” You knew it was going to be a jab about his stretching of the truth.

The Guests

Cate Blanchett

Many knock Fallon for his reviews and his “fake laugh,” but I find them to be light-hearted and usually fun. He has the ability to get the guests to loosen up, which usually allows us to see a side of them that usually goes unseen. Fallon and Blanchett talked about her life and upcoming movie Carol. Carol is about a married woman who has a lesbian affair with Rooney Mara’s character set in the 1950s.

The interview went directly into one of my least favorite bits on The Tonight Show: Lip Flip. For the uninitiated, Lip Flip is when Fallon’s lips are superimposed on the guest’s face and vice versa. It’s silly without the substance. Cate was certainly game, which any guest has to be for this style of segment. It’s often difficult for guests to keep their heads still so the effect actually works, but Cate does a great job. Fallon used a cockney accent for Cate, while Cate used a southern accent for Jimmy. Cate’s acting talent helped make the bit fresher than usual, but it was still the usual nonsense that can usually be found in Lip Flip.

Anthony Mackie

Mackie is on the show to promote his upcoming role in the Seth Rogan movie The Night Before. He’s a pretty great guest for a show like The Tonight Show thanks to his high energy. Fallon talked football and Mackie’s obsession with the New Orlean Saints. He mentioned the Washington “Redskins” by name which triggered a grown from the audience, but I don’t think he realized what he said.

Midway through the interview, Mackie broke into an impromptu karaoke session by singing Caribbean Queen by Billy Ocean.

Musical Guest: Tinashe

It’s good to see a musical guest with some stage presence in the current music generation of crooners standing still and belting out ballads. Tinashe was a half singing, half dance routine that got the crowd out of their seats. She performed her new single “Player.”