Jimmy Fallon Has Found His ‘Late Night’ Groove

by | November 29, 2010 at 5:14 PM | Late Night, TV News

It’s time to get on the bus – the Jimmy Fallon bus. No one on TV is getting better press right now, and the argument can be made that no one deserves it more than the ‘Late Night’ host. Sure, Conan O’Brien’s return on TBS has grabbed the spotlight, plus a significant slice of the ratings, and until last week, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel was able to count on weekly visits from ‘Dancing With the Stars’ contestants.

However, Fallon has found his late night groove, and he’s done it by dispensing something fairly unique among late night talk show hosts – genuine enthusiasm. Yes, he laughs often and easily at his own jokes, questions, and almost everything else, but New York magazine recently supposed it might be “because he’s just having a really good time.” It shows in his inspired inventiveness (Beer Pong with Betty White!), musical parodies, a slew of interesting, if not downright hip bookings, and also some decent interviews, though he did go a little goo-goo when questioning writer Fran Lebowitz about her HBO documentary, ‘Public Speaking.’

But even that was entertaining TV, something Fallon appears to have mastered. Take his recent impersonation of Neal Young singing Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair.” It would have been a classic if he’d done it solo, but he upped it into a category of all-time favorites when he asked Bruce Springsteen to join in, and the Boss said yes, even donning a wig and beard to give him his 1970s ‘Born To Run’ look. “He just went for it and nailed it, and all I kept saying in my head was, ‘Keep a straight face … keep straight face,’” Fallon told Rolling Stone.

Earlier, Fallon cooked up another classic, “The History of Rap,” with Justin Timberlake. It immediately went viral – an example of the way Fallon it dialed into his audience and their consumption of media on any platform whenever they want it. More recently, he and actor Jake Gyllenhaal went absolutely nuts performing “Gonna Eat That Talking Sandwich: The Sarah Palin Song.” He also played Tic-Tac-Toe with Jessica Simpson and cooked with Bobby Flay. In the latest of a slew of flattering stories, the Los Angeles Times called him “charming” and flat-out declared, “Jimmy Fallon, you’re growing on us.” He’s grown on us, too, after spending time over Thanksgiving watching previous shows and a number of clips, all of which are available on xfinityTV.com here. You can also keep up with all the late night shows, including Conan, Jay, Kimmel, and George Lopez by bookmarking our special Late Night TV page.

What do you think of Jimmy Fallon and his show? Who do you think is doing the best job?