JIMMY THE NIGHT: Can’t Go Wrong With Kimmel Or Fallon

The Jimmies figured it out.

After having a front row seat for the late night war in the 90s, Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel must have been nervous about throwing their respective hats into the ring.  After all, Johnny Carson’s departure from The Tonight Show made both Jay Leno and David Letterman lose their minds.  Joan Rivers and Arsenio Hall failed at the late night game before the war began, losing with a different style that couldn't sustain its appeal.  If the Jimmies were going to succeed, they needed to get back to basics and remember what made Johnny Carson the king in the first place.

Jimmy Fallon embodies Carson’s vaudevillian showmanship, willing to don costumes and partake in skits that he definitely didn't have to do.  But why wouldn't he?  Carson loved entertaining people, and Fallon has demonstrated this trait with his joyride multiplier special skill.  There are times, like when Jimmy and The Roots bang on kid instruments, where the show makes my heart soar with pure joy.  It's quite easy to lose oneself in the gimmicky madness, mainly because Jimmy sells the hell out of it. He's still that goofy guy that laughed too much on SNL, just now within the proper medium for his unique humor.  Taking his guests along for the mayhem makes them interesting far beyond a few standard interview questions.

Fallon also has two incredible weapons to his disposal in announcer Steve Higgins and The Roots. Higgins has a great comedic acumen that compliments Fallon almost to Andy Richter sidekick levels. As far as the legendary crew that provides the music, The Roots bring an immediate hipness update to the festivities, while remaining perfectly capable of rocking any tune necessary for the occasion. Jimmy Kimmel, on the other hand, chose to adopt Carson’s California coolness. Johnny never found himself beneath any of the heavyweights he interviewed.  He was the undisputed king of his stage, as he made being humble but powerful appear effortless.  Kimmel uses more style than silliness, keeping the skits witty and the interviews breezy.  Once at the desk, Kimmel’s martini sipping style puts his guest into an immediate comfort zone, making for very entertaining exchanges.  He is still lighthearted enough to pull off pranks, but even those goofs end up having a smoothness that makes them hilariously believable.

Kimmel has intelligently distanced himself a great deal from his Man Show roots, playing the straight man to Jimmy Fallon's comic. When it's time to be silly, Kimmel employs an army of wacky surrogates to do the high jinks for him. The house band, Cleto and the Cletones, has a classic style and arrangement that would easily remind you of Doc Severinsen's grand band.

Along with benefiting from winning plans, the Jimmies also have a healthy acceptance of current technology and trends.  Their social feeds are packed with entertaining content, making them one of the few outlets actually worth following.  There are giant LCD walls to go along with traditional props and sets, bringing their respective stages into the 21st century without forgetting their roots. Throw in their parent companies’ vast resources and connections, and it’s almost impossible for either Jimmy to fail.

Why pick? I never miss either one.

Do you enjoy watching either show's madcap fun?
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