Jimmy Fallon, the hangdog comedian from Saturday Night Live and Fever Pitch, will be taking over Conan O'Brien's late night spot sometime next year. (Hamilton is really excited about his house band!) The actual start date won't be until March probably, but in the meantime Mr. Fallon will be rolling out a series of 5-minute-long 'webisodes' (annoying modern slang for short things on the internet), starting tonight at 12:35 am, on NBC's website. It will be a great chance for the audience to figure out what they'll be getting with Jimmy, and a really great chance for Jimmy to fuck this whole thing up before he even makes it to air.
I mean, everyone's worried (read: positive) that this show isn't going to be good. Fallon has been pretty much missing in action since he stopped laughing at his own jokes on SNL, so barely anyone even remembers who he is. Those that do mostly remember a puckish college boy, a softer and less-spastic Adam Sandler. So, yeah, he's got his fair share of detractors. But you'd assume that even the bad portents of his earlier work couldn't dissuade curious cats from tuning into the first couple of episodes. So maybe there would be hope to reel some steady viewers in.
But doing little webisodey things to test out the waters could kill him dead right there. If they suck, the impetus to watch has been diminished (except for a few gawkers who like to watch car crashes). Yeah digital shorts are au courant must-haves on late nighters like SNL (unending dick jokes, whee!) and Jimmy Kimmel (people fuck other celebrities, har har) but this just seems like a lame marketing strategy that could sadly backfire. (Plus, as of right now, NBC.com has no mention anywhere of these looming internet videos, so good luck finding them.)
And if they're good, which I guess they could be? Well great then. Good for Jimmy. But a funny internet sketch (or whatever it is) doesn't necessarily make a good talk show host, which involves being funny from behind a desk — especially when one's got Conan's enormous Irish shoes to fill. Hopefully Fallon is working on his interview skills a bit too, and come March he'll be spiffed right up and be an affable and post-ironic (it's over, right?) host. But unfortunately, we see him going more the way of the fellow he once mocked so aptly ("I'm a massive tool"), Carson Daly. Ever watched that dude's talk show? Yikes.
Of course all of this is sight unseen. We'll have to wait til tonight to find out.