My last post detailed my first observations of the new Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and now having been witness to its first month of shows, I can now unequivocally state that late night television has the best new host since David Letterman.
Closer to Carson than Letterman, but more showman than either. Fallon has brought an unequaled energy, excitement and attention to late night.
Fallon has arrived (photo: nbc)
Nobody has been able to convince major movie and television stars to participate in sketches, musical numbers or special events, until Fallon.
Nobody has so transformed the stock standard joke, laugh, joke, laugh formula of the monologue, until Fallon.
And nobody has been able to bring a fun energy, with no cynicism or bad vibes, until Fallon.
He has been able to totally reinvent the show, moving totally away from the stand-up comic vibe of Leno and while not being all too similar to Carson, has been able to capture his essence and reinstate the integrity back into the franchise, while also ensuring that he also brings it into the new century.
Jimmy Fallon’s monologues are the funniest on television, they are filled with spontaneous and partially improvised laugh out loud moments. They don’t seem forced or repetitive and they don’t drag out.
The comedy pieces are fresh, original and don’t feel like an afterthought, which Leno’s often seemed.
The guests are integrated into the show, not just strutted out to tell their funny vacation story. Kevin Bacon dancing onto the show in the style of footloose, Michelle Obama joining in on the sketch ‘ewww’, and Jon Hamm photo bombing tourists atop 30 Rock. Nobody else has tried, or even bothered to make the guests the centre of the show, and integrate comedy into their segments.
Fallon has fun with Jon Hamm (photo: nbc)
While there is no doubt Letterman shines as an interviewer, Fallon cannot compete there, but what he does bring is enthusiasm and energy into his celebrity chats. They don’t drag on and there is always a chance for a good one liner to be snuck in.
Meanwhile the music on the show continues to be the best, from the musical guests, lavish performers and The Roots continuing to surprise and entertain as multi dimensional performers.
NBC may have totally messed up the last Tonight Show transition, but in the process stumbled upon the best host since Carson.
It took 22 years, but The Tonight Show is back.
After more than 40 years away from New York, The Tonight Show returned to its ancestral home of New York City last night.
Jimmy Fallon began his tenure as host of The Tonight Show, from the original studio where Tonight began in 1954.
Fallon began by summing up how extraordinary it was to be in his position, and introduced his parents, who were in the audience, as they were on the night of his first Late Night show. He thanked the previous hosts of the franchise, while managing to get in a slight dig at Jay Leno at the same time.
This honesty and warmth is something not displayed on Leno’s Tonight Show, except for his rare outpouring of emotion on his final episode.
The jokes were all there, and then it was on the desk, his new set looks bigger and more expansive than before, and unlike the grundy Late Night set, this one is very art deco and classy, befitting The Tonight Show, somewhat similar to what Conan O’Brien attempted to do in 2009.
U2 played on the Rockefeller Center roof, a great spectacle with the New York skyline and sunset in the background. Will Smith appeared and was entertaining as always, then U2 came out again and played at the desk.
The show wrapped up with a thank you to the New York State Governors office, which gives New York filmed shows some nice tax breaks. Another good reason to return home to New York.
Jimmy Fallon’s first and last entrance as the host of Late Night
Sums up the last five years for Fallon quite well.
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon begins Monday February 17, I’ll post my thoughts on it following the first episode.
Originally from what's up, comedy?
Next month sees Jay Leno depart The Tonight Show for the second time.
This tectonic shift in late night television will see the show return to New York City for the first time in more than 40 years, returning to its ancestral home of Studio 5B in Rockefeller Centre. Along with the location change, current Late Night host Jimmy Fallon will take the reins of one of the greatest franchises in television history.
Fallon who has a background in improvisational and stand-up comedy will - from all reports, continue doing similar things to what he has done for the last five years on Late Night.
Passing the torch, Leno and Fallon (photo: nbc)
The biggest change will be a longer opening monologue, a hallmark of The Tonight Show. Under both Johnny Carson and Jay Leno, the around 10 minute monologue set the mood for the show, and condensed the days news into joke sized bites of politics, sports and entertainment. The monologue has been an important element of the show for over 50 years, it could be argued that to be a great host, you need to be quick, smart and most importantly; be able to deliver a good monologue, you can get away with not being the best interviewer, but the monologue is a deal breaker.
When Conan O’Brien briefly took over the show in 2009 he also extended the length of his monologue and reduced the amount of time doing ‘desk pieces’. The issue there, is he was never the strongest at delivering monologue jokes, but rather at sketches and pieces shot remotely, not to mention having Leno’s lengthy monologue preceding him on his short-lived primetime variety show.
I shouldn’t think Fallon will struggle when it comes to this, his nervous and jumpy persona seems to give him a strangely unique way of delivering one-liners, and it won’t feel like he is ‘doing Jay’. His biggest issue is still interviews, but as we saw with Jay Leno’s lack of interview abilities, it shouldn’t hold him back.
I believe Fallon will be able to do what Conan couldn’t in the short time NBC provided him, appeal to a wider audience. His audience is slightly older than Conan’s already, which either reflects network television’s dated audience, or his ability to hold on to more of Leno’s older viewers.
Can Seth Deliver? (photo: nbc)
The biggest question over the movement at NBC is whether the new host of Late Night, Seth Meyers will be able to stand out in an already crowded late night market. From the outset it looks as if he will be attempting to do something different to Letterman, Conan and Fallon before him and bring more political and news based comedy to the table. This may work, or it may not appeal to a wide enough audience on network television.
The next few months will be interesting, especially as to how NBC will stomach potential audience losses and changes - and whether they will hold out and give their new hosts time to work out their kinks before pulling the plug prematurely, like before.
In December I was lucky enough to travel to Auckland, New Zealand for a week with my partner, and his mother.
I really did not know what to expect, I never really thought about planning to travel there, although it isn’t something I was against. So I went with no expectations.
The day we arrived was sunny and fine, and after checking in, we walked down to the waterfront in downtown Auckland. It immediately reminded me of Sydney Harbour mixed with a little bit of San Francisco bay. It was lovely, and all the people down there seemed friendly, a tad different to Sydney.
Sky Tower Auckland, which towers over the entire city
The next day we ventured out around downtown, as well as to Piha Beach, to the west of Auckland. It wasn’t the nicest day, but it was still a stunning location, with sand the colour of ash. On the way back to the city we stopped by Elevation Cafe, who served the best hot chocolate and muffins I have had in a very long time.
Our final full day in Auckland led us to another trip around downtown, as well as on the ferry across to Devonport, a quaint small town. Later on in the day we took a trip down to Orere Point, just past Whakakaiwhare Point, south east of Auckland. Along the way were stunning deep green hills, full of scattered bright white sheep.
Orere Point Beach
Stunning countryside outside of Auckland
Unfortunately we didn’t have the time to spend any longer in New Zealand, but it is definitely a place I would love to visit again and see more of.
Saturday Night Live has lost some terrific performers over the last two seasons, including Jason Sudekis and Bill Hader, it will also lose head writer and Weekend Update anchor Seth Meyers when he transitions over to Late Night come February.
To make up for this, Deadline Hollywood reports that it is adding five new cast members, including one from its existing writing staff.
Michael Patrick O’Brien (not pictured) - SNL writer, 7 Minutes of Heaven
John Milhiser - comedian
Noël Wells - actress
Kyle Mooney - Good Neighbor, improv
Beck Bennett - Good Neighbor, improv
It’s great to hear there is a new female cast member, but it’s a shame they aren’t looking to add a more diverse cast, currently there exists only two (male) African-Americans (Jay Pharoah and Kenan Thompson) and one Iranian-American (Nasim Pedrad) cast member.
Mediaite has a decent round-up of some of these potential new cast members previous work.
Charlie Sheen’s sitcom ‘Anger Management’ began on FX as a 10/90 experiment, meaning that should the first 10 episodes meet a certain ratings threshold, then it will be automatically renewed for an additional 90 episodes, making 100 episodes in total. That is the amount of episodes usually required for syndication (selling reruns of the show to individual stations and markets).
The ratings for Anger Management met the requirement, and it is now pumping out an additional 90 episodes as we speak, what is important to note with Anger Management, is that its ratings haven’t held up all that well for FX, but that shouldn’t bother Debmar-Mercury/Lionsgate, the shows producers, as they continue to profit, and will end up reaping significant rewards when the show begins in syndication.
The biggest potential loser in any 10/90 deal is the original network airing the show, and having to pay for 90 more episodes of a show that could start bleeding viewers after the original 10 episodes. That’s a big risk, especially as each episode of Anger Management reportedly costs $600,000 for FX to air, but it’s a risk other networks are apparently willing to take on.
Kelsey Grammar and Martin Lawrence are set to begin production on a new sitcom which is being sold as a 10/90 venture - again to the FX network. The still untitled sitcom is set to feature the pair as Chicago lawyers from "vastly different backgrounds who unexpectedly meet in court on the worst day of their lives."
My biggest issue with this format of production, is how are writers and producers supposed to properly frame a storyline, write good episodes and have the time necessary to really concentrate on the intricacies of a situation comedy, when they are expected to pump out around 45 episodes per year? Anger Management clearly suffers from this, as its writing is sloppy and its production values are cheap and very crude, it’s dropping ratings are also a concern to the network, and clearly the content is not that appealing to viewers.
Anger Management is airing first run episodes on sister network FOX over the summer in a bid to rescue the shows ratings, and give it a larger platform, but if that doesn’t help, it doesn’t bode that well for the future of this new way of production and distribution.
Before you run off, hear me out. I love going to the dentist because I barely ever went as a child, maybe twice did I ever go until I was around 16 years old. My parents couldn’t really afford to send me to one, and any community dental services weren’t known to them.
Even now I can only afford to go once a year (and hope nothing is wrong), so when I do go it is almost exciting, another element of my excitement is that I have never had a cavity before, even without seeing a dentist for much of my life, so whenever I go, I am hoping to find out whether I have made it another year without one.
Yesterday was my yearly visit, and I am pleased to say, it looks like I have made it another year without a cavity. The physical check was fine, as was the X-Ray, I still have a full mouth X-Ray to do, but otherwise everything looks good (except my long time issue of not having enough room in my mouth for all my teeth).
I know many people are afraid, or hate the dentist, don’t get me wrong, I really dislike getting them cleaned, or having anything else done - like a tooth extraction, that’s not fun. However when you aren’t able to go to a dentist, due to financial circumstance, it makes you appreciate the fact that you can even go at all, which I guess changes the way I look at it. Dental costs aren’t just a problem in Australia, it effects lower socioeconomic families and individuals all over the world, but you’d think in one of the richest countries in the world, being able to see a dentist wouldn’t be something you have to look forward to when you can afford it, but something that is cheap and routine, as it should be.
I spent three months (90 days exactly) in the U.S. over Christmas and into the new year. I spent the time staying with my partners family in Los Angeles, and meeting up with people I’ve spoken to for ages, but never met. It was a lot of fun, as well as being a tremendous learning experience on many different levels.
It made me realise that Australia isn’t perfect, I am capable of doing things I didn’t think I could, and that stuff is usually smaller than you think it would be (Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is tiny).
I loved Los Angeles, it is fantastic, it’s always sunny - but not hot, the people are nice (the customer service is way beyond anything we are capable of in Australia) and living in a non-tourist area allowed me to see how different people, from different cultures operate.
I spent a few days in San Francisco, it was the highlight of my trip, I loved the city, it was very clean, modern and had the best weather - cool in the morning, transforming into sunny and warm in the afternoon. The bay is spectacular and I would love to go back anytime.
(I’m not usually that chubby - blame the food)
I miss America for those and more reasons, my partners family is all there, I have friends there, and I miss the culture, especially the lifestyle in Los Angeles, but most of all, the food - the food is awesome.