At the risk of being disrespectful out of the gate (Especially since I practically live in the same area as him–give or take about an hour’s drive); Boy, has the tide turned for Jimmy Fallon! When this show first aired 4 years ago, Jimmy was ready to be the next host of the Tonight Show, and it looked as though he had the wind against his sails…and for the better part of the past 4 years, he actually had the upper hand…Then, the election. And then, he mussed up Copper Coppertone Boy’s hair. And THEN, people actually wanted to get their news-related comedy from someone who didn’t (literally & figuratively) play games all the time, so now for the first time since Conan O’Brien*, the Tonight Show is actually Losing against the competition (to say nothing of Fallon’s RUMORED drinking habits/injuries resulting from said habits)—so hopefully, if you saw him hosting last night, all he needs is a little tune-up and he’ll be OK again; Again, I don’t think he’s bad, he just needs to mature a little. In the meantime, join us as we travel a mere 4 years ago to the last time he hosted, and brought one of his many partners in crime with him…
Jimmy Fallon/Justin Timberlake (Original Airdate: 12/21/2013)
*Also, Conan’s Bad ratings were Jay Leno & Jeff Zucker’s Fault, ACCEPT IT!
WRAPPINVILLE: Glad to see that they got this out of the way first, but c’mon, we all know what to expect from this by now. Since nothing about this one is really “new”, the deciding factor is how well Jimmy & JT play off of Aidy—and vice versa. And I’m sorry to say that this sketch is all but dead to me (Even with the “Sacking the Deck” jokes). I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’m watching this online at 7AM, but I just don’t find this funny anymore. It’s been the same sketch for…wow, has it really been 10 years? Anyway, the costumes may change, but the plot does not. Why not have JT go on some sort of mid-life crisis/existential journey of the mind explaining why his character is wasting his life dressing up in ridiculous costumes just to drum up business? If you still like these sketches, good for you. Otherwise, I never thought I’d be saying this, but I was actually rooting for it to be a Political Cold Open of some sort…Yes, the “…Ville” sketches have become that boring for me. By the way, listen very carefully to the audience during the more “quiet” moments, I swear they planted Capuchin Monkeys (or some kind of howling wildlife) into the crowd.
SCORE: 3 out of 10 Cookie Cutters (representing the kind of sketch this has become)
MONOLOGUE: (No footage available due to Music Rights) Yeah, by all outward appearances, it’s a singing monologue, but it’s the way Jimmy executes it at the beginning that actually makes it funny…and then Sir Paul showed up…and made it even better! There weren’t really that many jokes—aside from the initial “Fallon does 4 voices” premise and the Chipmunk joke on Paul, but who cares? Any time Sir Paul shows up, any attempt to judge this fairly becomes null & void. One joke that I think might have been lost on the crowd is the one where Jimmy said he’ll be the next host of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”. To which I say, Don’t worry, Jimmy…NBC wouldn’t make the same series of Late Night Mistakes a Third time, would they?
SCORE: 8 out of 10 Wonderful Christmas Times
EDITOR’S NOTE: I Might’ve been a little TOO generous here–such is the case whenever a Beatle makes his presence known; Even though Sir Paul remains one of this world’s many Pillars of Awesome, he wasn’t on screen that long. Maybe I was a little too caught up in the excitement of the appearance, maybe it’s because his 1993 performance of “Hey Jude” remains untouchable, maybe it’s because he gave Alec Baldwin not one, but two Shocks of a Lifetime, but I’m just an unabashed fan of Macca whether he’s singing or not…Still though, I have to be fair…
REVISED SCORE: 6 out of 10–Fallon’s “comedy” kinda hindered Paul’s awesomeness.
FAMILY FEUD: I think this was kind of inevitable considering the following; First, SNL Has a Large enough cast now to pull off a PROPER Family Feud sketch (I’m looking at YOU, “McKenzie & Jon Phillips” Sketch c2009). Second, the popularity of the current “Feud” is red hot—even Beating Jeopardy in some cities. And Third, the inimitable charm of Steve Harvey that helps fuel the Feud’s popularity…Having said that, there’s a LOT to break down here, especially since there are Eight different impersonations to analyze (no matter how brief they are). Starting on the CBS side with Jimmy, who may Look like a dead-ringer for Sheldon Cooper, but only has about 70% of his mannerisms down. Taran as Ashton Kutcher was Amusing (If not a little Yoda/Grover sounding), Jon Milheiser as Jon Cryer seems like a throwaway joke, and to Ms. Wells, Allyson Hannigan DOES NOT Act like that…Ever! On the NBC side…Ah, I see what they did there. Well played, JT. Kate does a passable Jane Lynch, as does Jay with his Ice-T, and Brooks is simply there for the ride as himself. As for the sketch itself, I never thought I’d be feeling nostalgic for the days of Jimmy cracking up in a sketch, but there it is. And much to my shock, Kenan actually did a better job acting like Steve Harvey Here than in the talk show sketches—Hell, he even captured Harvey’s over-reactions whenever an unlikely answer appeared on the board perfectly. Though not a perfect parody, it still was amusing to see.
SCORE: 8 out of 10 times Steve Harvey freaks out over use of the word “Penis” on the Feud.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Surprisingly, this sketch still holds up; but the only thing that’s changed in 4 years is that Kate’s “Jane Lynch” has actually gotten better.
(DO IT ON MY) TWIN BED: Already mentioned this one last summer (see: 8/19); to this day, it remains a hallmark of the work of co-Head Writers Chris Kelly & Sarah Schneider.
SCORE: 8 out of 10 Retainers I wore in the 7th grade.
BARRY GIBB: (*HEAVY SIGH, CHUGS 80 PROOF EGG NOG*) Well……………if it worked for Harry Caray…Twice…might as well swallow our pride. I’ll ignore Cecily & Taran’s contributions for a second, I’ll ignore Jimmy knocking it out of the park as usual, and I’ll even ignore the fact that Madonna showed up—and was actually kinda charming—and cut right to the punchline of the Real Barry Gibb showing up. I guess the fact that he showed up at the end sort of to give his stamp of approval (despite being the last living Bee Gee) shows one of two things, either he’s cool with everything & has moved on with dignity & grace from brother Robin’s (Still very recent) passing…or he clearly does not give a shit about semantics (After all, he’s Barry F***ing Gibb!). The one thing that bothers me about them doing this sketch now is the fact that they didn’t even TRY to pull an “Aren’t you Dead?” routine, Or even make JT’s Robin a “Christmas Angel” to help justify the appearance. But nope, they just do a regular sketch as though nothing has happened…Oh well, if the real Barry Gibb is willing to take part in it, who are we to complain? Having said that, at least it was better than the previous sketch from 2009…Furthermore, once you have the real Barry show up, I sincerely hope this is the last time we see this sketch.
SCORE: 6 out of 10 Nights on Broadway
Part 1, Here
Part 2, Here
Seth’s Best: Duck Dynasty, Trump for Governor.
Cecily’s Best: North Korea Fax Threat, Dog Translator.
Commentaries: Kate was a little too blatant with the lesbian stereotypes as Billie Jean King, but at least she was Miles better than when Fred Armisen did it many moons ago. And I might be a little behind on my research, but has Mayor Bloomberg EVER appeared on the show during his administration? If not, better late than never, Bloomy. Jimmy being Pseudo-emotional about all the upcoming changes was Pseudo-amusing, and the joke about Bloomberg being emotional will be totally lost on the 99% of the viewers NOT from NYC. Otherwise, this was a Very Disappointing Update Before Christmas. I was hoping they’d do at least one more Joke-off with Tina Fey joining in and/or Amy Poehler confronting Seth about his new Co-Anchor…but (*ANCHORMAN 2 SPOILER ALERT*) I think they might be caught in the middle of another News related battle royale.
SCORE: 5 out of 10 Ron Burgundy’s (Seriously, GO SEE ANCHORMAN 2!)
EDITOR’S NOTE: That joke about Trump being Governor of New York seems incredibly quaint today, doesn’t it?
WAKING UP WITH KIMYE: I Hated this when it first aired, but probably because it was the first time the sketch was done. Has it improved? I’m going to say “Barely” on this one. As I have mentioned throughout the year, it’s very hard for me to like a parody of something that I absolutely Hate no matter how accurate the parody tends to be (I.e. We Did Stop, MTV, etc.). And since Kimye is on the top 5 of my shit list, my lack of interest is very much built in to the sketch despite my best efforts to legitimately enjoy it. The ONLY saving grace I will say about it was the parody of that dumb, Dumb, DUMB “Bound 2” Video that Kimye did together…though it’s not half as good as Seth Rogen & James Franco’s parody. I never liked Nasim’s Kardashian impression (Which will probably be the ONLY time I’ll defend the real Kim K.), and Jay’s Kanye was kinda “meh”.
SCORE: 4 out of 10 Million Dollars a day it takes to keep pumping air into Kanye’s ego.
NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL CHRISTMAS: Yeah, you’re fooling nobody, it’s the same sketch from 2 before this aired. Only this time, Jimmy plays Michael Buble (among others), it’s Not a Buble album, and there are more solo acts than there are duets. But for what it’s worth, this was still pretty amusing. My favorites included Bobby as Andrea Boccelli, Noel as Zooey Deschanel, Jimmy as Alan Rickman, and Cecily & Milhesier (I Think?) as Alanis & Billie Joe. The other impressions were just OK, but I don’t think Shakira sounds like a Dog in Heat in real life.
SCORE: 7 out of 10 Christmas Albums I find myself re-gifting.
EDITOR’S NOTE: So THAT’S Why Harry Styles was Fallon’s MG last night…I assume.
CHRISTMAS CAROL: OK, I’ll give +1 point for a well-crafted Pussy joke, but c’mon, there’s a subtle way to do gay themed sketches, and then there’s………this…Although, to be fair, the jokes weren’t as shoved down our throats (phrasing) as a sketch from…say…2008-09. And to be even more fair, if anybody can pull off an overly-flaming guy (again, phrasing) and STILL be funny, Jimmy can. I’m not sure Kate was the right person to play the girl—for semi-ironic reasons, and would probably have been a better part for any of the other girls to play. The ending with Taran & Brooks felt a little tacky (As in Tacked on, not tasteless…if anything, I liked Taran’s reactions.), while Kenan was just playing the Straight man…Once again, Phrasing. As long as nobody kisses, it’s not a total disaster.
SCORE: 5 out of 10 pieces of Gay Apparel to don.
BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE: I feel like this joke has been made before by other comedians, but that’s probably the cynic in me talking. After thawing out a little, I can see that this was Cutesy & Sweet & also potential Fuel for 2014’s Christmas Special. I did like how the tables were turned (Take note Joseph Gordon Levitt & Lady Gaga, THAT’S How you do it…actually her version with Tony Bennett is Far better in comparison; and THAT was a commercial), and Kenan—though 3rd wheel-y—added a little bit extra to it. Not a masterpiece, but still cute enough to make me smile (Speaking of cute…DAY-AM, Cecily! I don’t know why, but she reminded me of c1982 Julia Louis-Dreyfus in her get-up).
SCORE: 8 out of 10 Early Morning meetings I have to get to.
Sidebar: JT can play Guitar, too? Are you Trying to take Every single, single Woman on the Planet away from the rest of us with your charm?!
Additional Sidebar: CHRIS ROCK?! Chris Rock was there and you didn’t even bother to Use him in any way?! For Shame!
EDITOR’S NOTE: One year later, I would wind up regretting that thought…more on that in the future.
FINAL SCORE: 62 out of 100 (62% WATCHABLE)
REVISED SCORE: 60 out of 100 (60% WATCHABLE…sorry, Paul)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Once again, it looks as though I may have set my expectations a little too high. I figure after several years in a row of killer Christmas shows, they would manage to keep the streak going—especially with such heavyweights as Fallon & Timberlake at the helm. I mean, yeah, there were certainly some “Good” moments and an ample amount of cameos to be seen, and Jimmy & JT did the best with what they were given…but that might be the weak link right there, the writing had a certain aire of “The sooner I get this written, the sooner I can start my Christmas Vacation”; It just didn’t feel well crafted for the talent that we were given, and the fact that it was a Christmas show makes things even more confusing (If it were any other host/time of the year, it would be right on par). It makes me wish we could fast-forward to February when Seth, Alex Baze & a good chunk of the writing staff migrate over to “Late Night”. THEN we’ll see what happens.
UPDATED THOUGHTS: Surprisingly, my opinions about this episode have not changed that much since it aired, but maybe that’s for the best. Say what you will about Fallon’s troubles on-air and off, but at least we know the guy is still consistent. Of course, having JT on as his MG was a well-placed insurance policy; but then again Fallon without JT is like having Peanut Butter without the Jelly—It’ll taste OK, but then you sort of run into some problems; you need the extra ingredient in order for things to be simpatico.
TOMORROW: I bumped into someone SNL related on the street earlier this week, so it’s only fair that I showcase some of her work.
After that, we need to talk about the next month…