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The very first incarnation of The Tonight Show may be ancient history, but Steve Allen’s first monologue from 1954 exists in some visual form for everyone to see. In this iconic opening, Steve Allen says: “This show is going to go on forever.” And, if you consider the lifespan of a housefly, the show has indeed gone on forever.
But what show did NBC bring to American TV for over 60 years? What show broadcast mightily from New York City until 1972, when California stole it away? What show brought jokes, gags, iconic musical performances, and smiles to the airwaves every weeknight at 11:35 PM? If you’re saying, “The Tonight Show,” you’re right. If you’re saying, “But Will, we already established this article was about The Tonight Show,” you’re wrong.
This article is about The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Ladies and gentlemen: This is what the show was meant to be.
The allure of The Tonight Show is not the jokes. It’s not the special guests. Any funny guy or gal can set up a camera in a studio and make a late-night show. What people come for — as Will Smith aptly put it in his special guest appearance — is the heart. Carson had heart. Leno has heart, most of the time. Conan has heart, which you can see if he takes off his shirt. The reason Jimmy Fallon is behind that desk from now until whenever is because he loves his job, his viewers, and his life. He’s just a good upstanding guy. His nod to Mom & Dad Fallon in the monologue proved that, although it barely needed proving.
Jimmy’s start also marks The Tonight Show's first broadcast from New York in over 40 years. Why did the show leave in the first place? Some say Johnny Carson got tired of the weather. Some say the network did it. Others say Johnny was so famous in New York that he was constantly mobbed. In that case, moving to LA seems like a terrible idea. And of course, it was terrible for New York. But with Fallon at the reins and the Roots set up in Studio 6-B, the lights shine bright at 30 Rock again. Note that 6-B is the same studio where The Tonight Show began in 1954, which means that on September 27, the show will celebrate its 60th anniversary “at home.” (Unfortunately, Steve Allen will not be available.)
But enough of the show as a whole. This first episode proved all of the groundbreaking new ways the Tonight Show was going to evolve, or — in some cases — revisit old ideas. The opening monologue saw Jimmy introduce himself, his parents, Steve Higgins, and The Roots, as if the show were a brand new entity from Late Night. Then he came out to a second introduction and performed his monologue, which — while not his strongest — was a promise of good things to come. It felt like a well-rehearsed pilot which went off without a hitch.
The toss to the desk was smooth, and then came the next bit, which proved that the night would be magical. Jimmy called out, “To my buddy who said I’d never host The Tonight Show: You owe me 100 bucks!” Then the buddies came out: Robert DeNiro, Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, and Mariah Carey, to name a few. Joan Rivers even came out for a kiss, which ends her long-running ban on the show. To end the parade, Stephen Colbert came out, dumped 10,000 pennies on Fallon’s desk and body, and screamed: “Welcome to 11:30, bitch!” It was a stunning display of celebrity support which left the audience both in-house and at home speechless. But of course, no one was more excited than Jimmy.
Higgins introduced the next segment: A parody of The Evolution Of Dance with Jimmy and special guest Will Smith. The segment, “The Evolution Of Hip-Hop,” is based on a dated Youtube video, but the laughs were there, and that’s what matters most. Jimmy has a way of taking old ideas and giving them life again, so this sketch went off without a hitch. Some other critics might disagree, but the audience liked it throughout, and that’s a litmus test if there ever was one.
Then came U2’s musical performance, which immediately stood out as the highlight of the night. Playing on the Top Of The Rock, U2 performed “Invisible” with a drumline from Rutgers University. The cameras swirled around the band as the crowd cheered and danced at an intimate distance. Better yet, the natural background of the New York City sunset reminded viewers where the magic was happening. It was like something out of Disney World, if Disney World did late-night comedy. (Now there’s a wacky thought.) Hopefully this becomes a regular occurrence, since all we’ve had for outdoor musical performances on late night has come from Jimmy Kimmel. And be honest: Do you watch Kimmel? There can be only one Jimmy at 11:35. ABC had better start looking for a guy with a different name.
Will Smith came out again to hang out with Jimmy, where they talked about Olympics, their daughters, and T-shirts. It was a reminder that Jimmy doesn’t do clean-cut interviews. Leno does interviews. Conan does interviews. Letterman doesn’t do interviews. But Letterman doesn’t do interviews because he likes to crack jokes. Jimmy doesn’t do interviews because he likes to have fun. If Jimmy could cut the interviews and just play ping-pong with his special guests, I’m sure he would. He’d love that, and — probably — so would the world.
After Will came U2 again, and Jimmy asked Bono to make a speech about his coffee cup. Bono played along, of course, since this is the Tonight Show and you’ve got to have fun if you’re sitting on that couch. After a Nelson Mandela name-drop, Jimmy asked the band to play an acoustic version of their Golden Globe award-winning song, “Ordinary Love.” So they did, and halfway through, they asked Jimmy and the Roots to play along. If U2’s concert on the Top Of The Rock was the highlight of the night, their performance in Studio 6-B was the icing on the cake. You could tell from here how important and iconic Jimmy’s become. Bono’s asked him to sing along with U2. Will Smith is dancing with him on stage. He’s got millions of people watching him smile on TV.
It’s worth mentioning here that Carson began hosting the tonight show at the age of 36. Leno was 42 when he began his tenure. Jimmy is 39, and with those few years on his predecessor, he’s introduced a younger vibe to the show. He’s got Twitter. He’s got Tumblr. He’s got a dog and a baby. He’s got no gray hairs to speak of yet. The older audience might leave with Leno, but a crowd of fresh faces is coming in for Fallon, and they’re not going to bed anytime soon.
Everyone gets older. Leno got older, Carson got older. Jimmy Fallon will most certainly get older. TV show hosts do that. But one thing’s for certain: Jimmy’s made his mark on the Tonight Show, and as Steve Allen said 60 years ago, it’s going to last “forever.”
Guest Post: Will blogs at socratescloset.tumblr.com

The very first incarnation of The Tonight Show may be ancient history, but Steve Allen’s first monologue from 1954 exists in some visual form for everyone to see. In this iconic opening, Steve Allen says: “This show is going to go on forever.” And, if you consider the lifespan of a housefly, the show has indeed gone on forever.

But what show did NBC bring to American TV for over 60 years? What show broadcast mightily from New York City until 1972, when California stole it away? What show brought jokes, gags, iconic musical performances, and smiles to the airwaves every weeknight at 11:35 PM? If you’re saying, “The Tonight Show,” you’re right. If you’re saying, “But Will, we already established this article was about The Tonight Show,” you’re wrong.

This article is about The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Ladies and gentlemen: This is what the show was meant to be.

The allure of The Tonight Show is not the jokes. It’s not the special guests. Any funny guy or gal can set up a camera in a studio and make a late-night show. What people come for — as Will Smith aptly put it in his special guest appearance — is the heart. Carson had heart. Leno has heart, most of the time. Conan has heart, which you can see if he takes off his shirt. The reason Jimmy Fallon is behind that desk from now until whenever is because he loves his job, his viewers, and his life. He’s just a good upstanding guy. His nod to Mom & Dad Fallon in the monologue proved that, although it barely needed proving.

Jimmy’s start also marks The Tonight Show's first broadcast from New York in over 40 years. Why did the show leave in the first place? Some say Johnny Carson got tired of the weather. Some say the network did it. Others say Johnny was so famous in New York that he was constantly mobbed. In that case, moving to LA seems like a terrible idea. And of course, it was terrible for New York. But with Fallon at the reins and the Roots set up in Studio 6-B, the lights shine bright at 30 Rock again. Note that 6-B is the same studio where The Tonight Show began in 1954, which means that on September 27, the show will celebrate its 60th anniversary “at home.” (Unfortunately, Steve Allen will not be available.)

But enough of the show as a whole. This first episode proved all of the groundbreaking new ways the Tonight Show was going to evolve, or — in some cases — revisit old ideas. The opening monologue saw Jimmy introduce himself, his parents, Steve Higgins, and The Roots, as if the show were a brand new entity from Late Night. Then he came out to a second introduction and performed his monologue, which — while not his strongest — was a promise of good things to come. It felt like a well-rehearsed pilot which went off without a hitch.

The toss to the desk was smooth, and then came the next bit, which proved that the night would be magical. Jimmy called out, “To my buddy who said I’d never host The Tonight Show: You owe me 100 bucks!” Then the buddies came out: Robert DeNiro, Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, and Mariah Carey, to name a few. Joan Rivers even came out for a kiss, which ends her long-running ban on the show. To end the parade, Stephen Colbert came out, dumped 10,000 pennies on Fallon’s desk and body, and screamed: “Welcome to 11:30, bitch!” It was a stunning display of celebrity support which left the audience both in-house and at home speechless. But of course, no one was more excited than Jimmy.

Higgins introduced the next segment: A parody of The Evolution Of Dance with Jimmy and special guest Will Smith. The segment, “The Evolution Of Hip-Hop,” is based on a dated Youtube video, but the laughs were there, and that’s what matters most. Jimmy has a way of taking old ideas and giving them life again, so this sketch went off without a hitch. Some other critics might disagree, but the audience liked it throughout, and that’s a litmus test if there ever was one.

Then came U2’s musical performance, which immediately stood out as the highlight of the night. Playing on the Top Of The Rock, U2 performed “Invisible” with a drumline from Rutgers University. The cameras swirled around the band as the crowd cheered and danced at an intimate distance. Better yet, the natural background of the New York City sunset reminded viewers where the magic was happening. It was like something out of Disney World, if Disney World did late-night comedy. (Now there’s a wacky thought.) Hopefully this becomes a regular occurrence, since all we’ve had for outdoor musical performances on late night has come from Jimmy Kimmel. And be honest: Do you watch Kimmel? There can be only one Jimmy at 11:35. ABC had better start looking for a guy with a different name.

Will Smith came out again to hang out with Jimmy, where they talked about Olympics, their daughters, and T-shirts. It was a reminder that Jimmy doesn’t do clean-cut interviews. Leno does interviews. Conan does interviews. Letterman doesn’t do interviews. But Letterman doesn’t do interviews because he likes to crack jokes. Jimmy doesn’t do interviews because he likes to have fun. If Jimmy could cut the interviews and just play ping-pong with his special guests, I’m sure he would. He’d love that, and — probably — so would the world.

After Will came U2 again, and Jimmy asked Bono to make a speech about his coffee cup. Bono played along, of course, since this is the Tonight Show and you’ve got to have fun if you’re sitting on that couch. After a Nelson Mandela name-drop, Jimmy asked the band to play an acoustic version of their Golden Globe award-winning song, “Ordinary Love.” So they did, and halfway through, they asked Jimmy and the Roots to play along. If U2’s concert on the Top Of The Rock was the highlight of the night, their performance in Studio 6-B was the icing on the cake. You could tell from here how important and iconic Jimmy’s become. Bono’s asked him to sing along with U2. Will Smith is dancing with him on stage. He’s got millions of people watching him smile on TV.

It’s worth mentioning here that Carson began hosting the tonight show at the age of 36. Leno was 42 when he began his tenure. Jimmy is 39, and with those few years on his predecessor, he’s introduced a younger vibe to the show. He’s got Twitter. He’s got Tumblr. He’s got a dog and a baby. He’s got no gray hairs to speak of yet. The older audience might leave with Leno, but a crowd of fresh faces is coming in for Fallon, and they’re not going to bed anytime soon.

Everyone gets older. Leno got older, Carson got older. Jimmy Fallon will most certainly get older. TV show hosts do that. But one thing’s for certain: Jimmy’s made his mark on the Tonight Show, and as Steve Allen said 60 years ago, it’s going to last “forever.”

Guest Post: Will blogs at socratescloset.tumblr.com

Hey guys, I already found your new favorite show. Marry Me, the upcoming NBC project from Happy Endings creator David Caspe, recently added Happy Endings alum Casey Wilson (yes!) to the cast and now it’s been announced that Ken Marino will star opposite her. Ken Marino and Casey Wilson as an engaged couple? Sold, sold, sold.

The New Year’s Day Happy Endings marathon was the perfect way to waste away the most hungover day of the year and reminded us of what a perfect show it was—before realizing how depressing it is that we’ll never have new episodes. Fortunately, its creator David Caspe will soon have a new project on television. According to Deadline, Marry Me “centers on a young couple who get engaged, something they quickly realize is harder than it looks.” There are no details on casting, but we’re crossing our fingers that anyone from the Happy Endings cast makes an appearance. 

Before we take a little break for the holidays, we want to thank everyone who came out to our NBC Christmas party on Friday! It was tons of drunk fun and I only cried about sitcoms like, twice (five times). And a general thank you to everyone who inexplicably follows us and reads our silly ramblings. You’re all wonderful and make watching shitty television worth it. 

Above are the drinking game rules that we made up for the party (you can also download a pdf here) although we ended up watching NewsRadio instead of Friends because of a Christmas miracle. If you’re avoiding annoying relatives all week, I highly recommend locking yourself in your childhood bedroom with Netflix, Hulu, and a six pack. 

The rules are for these specific Christmas episodes: “Ludachristmas,” “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas,” “Christmas Party,” “Citizen Knope,” and “The One With The Holiday Armadillo.”

There are only a few tickets left for our holiday party. Come watch Community30 Rock, and more with us! Ugly Christmas sweaters! Booze! Candy! Trivia! Prizes! 

Attention New York: Our NBC themed Christmas party is happening THIS FRIDAY! We’re really stoked about this and treating it as our TV Hangover office holiday party which means dressing up and getting so drunk that we can’t look each other in the eyes the next day. Thanks to everyone who voted (except for those 54 votes that went to Whitney). Our top five, as you probably have guessed, are:

  1. Community - “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas”
  2. 30 Rock - “Ludachristmas”
  3. The Office - “Christmas Party”
  4. Parks and Recreation - “Citizen Knope”
  5. Friends - “The One With The Holiday Armadillo”

We’re going to play those five episodes—each will have their own drinking game, naturally—and do a couple rounds of trivia so you can win drinks and silly prizes. Plus we’ll probably hang out all night and watch some episodes that didn’t get picked because I am not leaving that bar until I watch NewsRadio

There are still some tickets left and it’s only $5 so make sure you get yours today before we sell out. 

Friday December 20th, 8pm
Videology 
308 Bedford Ave. 
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY

P.S. Due to popular demand (me), this is now also an ugly Christmas sweater party. Dress accordingly.

When was the last time we talked about Community? I think we may have accidentally given the fourth season the silent treatment. I don’t think the last season was horrible, not at all, but it just wasn’t what I wanted from Community. It didn’t feel like Community should feel—that is, it mostly felt like a handful of spec scripts, it felt like the show had been piling on itself so much, trying to live up to impossible standards (bad show, everyone’s fault), and ultimately shaking unsteadily under its own weight. It tried, though, and that’s something. I didn’t hate it! There were a few episodes that I enjoyed, though I suppose it’s telling that I can’t exactly name any of those episodes but I can still reel off earlier ones that are constantly stuck in my head. Basically: mostly entertaining, pretty funny, but not very memorable. It could be worse. Anyway. The point is: Here is a new trailer for the fifth season, premiering January 2nd, and I’m actually excited about it. This looks good! This looks like a season I am going to love! I’m optimistic! Let’s watch this season together!

Happy December, TV nerds! Just a reminder: On December 20th, we’re throwing an NBC-themed Christmas party at Videology in Brooklyn. Booze, sitcoms, trivia, candy, etc. It’ll be a great time! RSVP on Facebook and we’ll keep you updated. 

It’s only $5 and tickets are currently on sale—I recommend buying one in advance because our events tend to sell out. 

If you haven’t already, be sure to vote in our poll deciding which episodes we’re going to show! It’s been really cool to see what shows you guys are into so vote even if you can’t go and we’ll write about some of our favorites this month. 

Holiday parties can often be a drag so this year we’re trading in stuffy coworkers and fighting relatives for drinking games and great sitcoms. On December 20th, come celebrate the holidays with us as we watch a few episodes of our favorite NBC comedies, play drinking games for each one, and host a few rounds of trivia where you can show off your Must See TV knowledge and win some prizes!

This time we’re doing something a little different. Since there are so many great Christmas episodes and there’s no way we could decide on our own, you get to choose which episodes we watch! You can make us all sob hysterically over “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” or force me to finally watch an episode of Frasier (please don’t do this). We’ve compiled a handful of the best holiday episodes from the last couple of years and you can vote for them here. You can vote for up to five episodes and write in any that we may have missed. Even if you don’t live in New York City or can’t go, feel free to vote! It’d be awesome to know what your favorites are. 

Tickets are only $5 and are on sale now. Our last few events have sold out so I highly recommend getting a ticket in advance. And don’t forget to vote here!

Friday December 20th, 8pm
Videology
308 Bedford Ave.
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY