Jimmy Fallon is taking over the Tonight Show this week so I decided to get back into my retrospective on the best of the current late night hosts. This second part of the King of Late Night series is going to feature the other three hosts including Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Craig Ferguson. These guys have no correlation to each other whatsoever.
I’m going to tackle the man of the hour, Jimmy Fallon, first. Fallon’s career started with stand up. I know, it’s hard picturing this guy do stand up but it was his job at one point. His work then turned to improvisation where he got his break working with The Groundlings. Saturday Night Live came next where he fit in just fine. However, Fallon has been criticized for not being as good as other cast members. He would ruin jokes and look at the camera for the laugh to which the crowd would respond. All of this is hindsight internet hate though. Many people liked when he was on SNL but now a vast majority look back and say that he was not an actor but more of an entertainer. If you want further proof on why he is not a great actor, watch the 2004 train wreck that is Taxi in which Fallon starred opposite Queen Latifah. Yeah the movie was a financial success but it was also a load of crap. Fallon began his tenure on Late Night in 2009 where, in his first show, he made TV history by having his best friend Justin Timberlake on board. His house band is also one of the greatest bands to grace music, The Roots. Yes, the actual Roots. The band has even had its own fair share of controversy. Fallon has even earned himself his own Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor too. As much as I like the guy, good luck trying to watch his show. The crowd is always on his jock and they laugh at every single joke. Every. Single. Joke. With applause breaks. It’s extremely annoying and makes watching the show a chore. He has great guests, stunts, and bits but I could do without the brown nosing audience. I generally can’t wait to see what Fallon brings to The Tonight Show. That is unless NBC ousts him just like they did to Conan. I’m sure Lorne Michaels, who is basically NBC’s saving grace, won’t have that mess.
Next up is the internet sensation Jimmy Kimmel. This host is one of the most “young person savvy” if that’s a term. His skits and bits often go viral mostly because they utilize cute children. Better off, they use other people’s cute children so there’s even less to clean up. Kimmel’s show is somewhat of an enigma when compared to the other late night shows. He often uses his family members as correspondents, something I haven’t seen much in the other shows. It’s a really unique idea that helps him to stand out. Kimmel’s aunt Chippy and cousin Sal have some of the best skits on the show. I will never forget my first episode: Kimmel’s uncle Frank passed away and the host had an extended opening monologue/eulogy for him. It was one of the most heart wrenching things I have ever seen in my life. Another joke that Kimmel takes to another level is his frequent use of the phrase “Our apologies to Matt Damon, we ran out of time.” What started as a joke blossomed into a friendship not unlike that of Fallon’s and Timberlakes’. That even turned into Kimmel’s first viral hit “I’m Fucking Matt Damon” starring Kimmel’s at the time girlfriend, Sarah Silverman. For revenge almost 10 years later, Damon took over Jimmy Kimmel Live!, retitling it Jimmy Kimmel Sucks! He had several celebrities come on the show and they dished on a tied up Kimmel. His sidekick, Guillermo, is one of the funniest men around. He speaks broken English and has his own comedy segments. Kimmel also runs a concert series every few months that features a big band playing a free concert on Hollywood Boulevard. Kimmel has had his own share of controversies with Kanye West and China. He’s very funny and smug which is something I enjoy.
Finally, we have the Scotland born Craig Ferguson. There’s so much to say about his show. It’s funny, irreverent, and just plain wacky. Ferguson is a living cartoon not unlike Conan. Every episode begins with a cold open where CraigyFerg berates an audience member or two. That leads to his theme song which is the best one out of any late night host. It’s super catchy and Ferguson even sings. His monologue is then performed and, what’s weird, it’s mostly adlibbed. He knows he gets lesser ratings than other hosts but he seems to be enjoying himself. And the audience is enjoying the show along with him. The most defining thing about CraigyFerg’s show is his sidekicks: a talking gay, skeleton robot named Geoff and a pantomime horse named Secretariat. Yes, I did write gay robot. Craig refers to Geoff as his “gay robot pal.” Geoff can only move one arm and is never seen from anywhere but behind his podium. Secretariat has just as much personality. She – or he; I don’t really know – dances or congas around the entire stage. Some guests including Tom Hanks and Kristin Bell have ridden Secretariat out before interviews. If a gay robot and a dancing horse don’t float your boat, the show also has puppets, tons of self-deprecating humor, and a whole lot of heart. And he does stand up which is a huge plus.
So there you have it. The end to the main part of the King of Late Night series. Don’t fret; there are still some other shows that I want to cover. Haven’t read part one? Check it out here.