Last night’s premiere of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon started on the softer side before changing gears to new host Jimmy Fallon’s more signature antics. He spent the first five minutes lubing up the audience with heartfelt thank yous to producers and friends in the entertainment industry, introducing his parents, declaring love for his wife, and flaunting his proud dad status to his 6-month-old daughter, Winnie. But before anyone could mistake those tender moments for a monologue, Fallon rebooted and delivered the laughs we’ve come to expect from the Saturday Night Live veteran.
Will Smith and musical guest U2 were on the schedule for this first episode, but we all knew better. So it was no surprise when the caravan of celebrities emerged to drop $100 bills on Fallon’s desk for “losing a bet” that he’d never host The Tonight Show. The surprise appearances included New York’s finest: Robert De Niro, former fellow SNL Weekend Update co-anchor Tina Fey, Mariah Carey, Tracy Jordan, Rudy Giuliani, Sarah Jessica Parker, and more. Lindsay Lohan even made an appearance to let everyone know that she is in fact still alive and in NYC. Stephen Colbert ended the sketch by dumping a bucket of pennies and declaring, “Welcome to 11:30, bitch!”
But the best part of the show’s debut episode wasn’t the celebrities, the brilliant “Evolution of Hip Hop Dancing” with Will Smith, or even the U2 performances. The greatest gift from last night’s The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon was, “Holy shit, Will Smith is still funny.” After all the weird movies and Scientology buzz, Will Smith surprised us all by still being the dude who made us laugh on Fresh Prince — just a little older and more refined.
Fallon brings out the best in people and it looks like an earlier time slot is the perfect place for him to keep at it.
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For more comedy, watch Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show on FilmOn:
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