Jimmy Fallon invited Paris Hilton on to “The Tonight Show” on Monday to promote an NFT platform that she has a vested financial interest in and push the mass delusion that Bored Apes are legitimately cool and not at all just adult Beanie Babies. NBC provided the two millionaires with multiple minutes to perform a scripted bit, before Hilton told the audience that each one of them would be gifted with a NFT of their very own.
The result was, frankly, hallucinogenic.
Fallon starts the interview by noting that Hilton had explained the concept of an NFT to him the last time he was on the show. At the time, the softball-throwing late-night host said that he did not plan to join in on the NFT craze. Since then, however, he’s changed his mind, as he told Hilton, which led to an exchange that will almost certainly be used as archival footage in a documentary on the rise and fall of NFTs in 2032:
Jimmy Fallon: I jumped in.
Paris Hilton: I know. I heard. I'm so happy I taught you what they were.
You did. You taught me what's up and then I bought an ape.
I got an ape too, because I saw you on the show with [digital artist] Beeple, and you said you got on MoonPay so I went and I copied you and did the same thing.
[In a pre-planned bit, Fallon pulls out a photo of a cartoon ape with a straight face.]
This is your—this is your ape?
Yeah, it’s really cool. The hat. The shades.
I’m going to stop here and just note without comment that this is the image these two people are discussing:
Back to the transcript:
How did you pick—because you can pick your ape.
Yes, I was going through a lot of them and and I was like, I want something that reminds me of me. But this one, it's—it does.
I feel compelled to note that she said this with a straight face.
I think—we made another version of it where he takes the hat off and blonde hair comes out.
Yeah, because you can do now whatever you want.
Mm-hmm. Animated version.
We’re part of the same community. We’re both apes. Here's my—this is my ape.
Yours is so cool. I love the red heart sunglasses. I love the captain hat.
Let's quickly pause to just take a moment and look—really look—at the image that Paris Hilton just described as “so cool.”
On we go:
It reminded me of me a little bit because I wear striped shirts. I've worn these heart sunglasses because my daughter, just as a joke, they have them and as a joke I put them on, so I've done this. And I love yacht rock and being breezy. So I’m like yeah, that kind of—and then I like the blue. Dude, look at this.
[Jimmy Fallon puts two photos of cartoon apes next to one another]
They look like they could be friends.
Again, sorry, but I cannot emphasize enough that the cartoon apes these two people are talking about look like this:
Hilton, who was on the show to pitch her NFT collection, called "Forever Fairytale,” finished the sales pitch by telling Fallon that he and everyone in the audience would receive a complementary NFT from her to celebrate the launch.
“Everyone gets an NFT?” Fallon asked.
“Yes, everyone,” Hilton replied.
“Everyone gets an NFT!”
At that point the audience began to cheer with the fervor of someone with a gun pointed at the back of their head. Soon after, “The Tonight Show” uploaded the clip to YouTube with the title “Paris Hilton Surprises Tonight Show Audience Members By Giving Them Their Own NFTs.”
While this may appear to be a selfless act, Hilton is just doing what’s in her vested interest. The collection was released on Origin Platform, she said, a decentralized e-commerce platform that Hilton joined last June as both an investor and adviser. In a blog post, the company’s co-founder, Matthew Liu, explained that having Hilton would work to make the company “massively successful,” in part by trying to “bring NFTs to mainstream consumer audiences” through “education” and marketing. Giving away NFTs on NBC almost certainly falls under that umbrella.
To be clear, Hilton is an intelligent person who knows what she's doing (the jury is still out on Fallon). The world’s original influencer has used her fame to build an increasingly ambitious empire that has come to include at least 45 branded stores, 27 fragrances, and 19 products lines and numerous investments, according to the Wall Street Journal. “We’re anchored by a global personality and someone who has true influence over consumers,” her business partner told the Journal last October.
Wielding that influence, Hilton has pushed hard into the NFT space, saying last year that NFTs had “literally taken over my entire mind and soul,” and even headlining an online music festival on the metaverse platform Decentraland with Deadmau5. Fallon's entry into the Bored Ape Yacht Club, on the other hand, was widely seen as a signal that this entire thing may simply be reaching untenable levels.
The episode is perhaps an indicator of where the country’s financial energy has moved. Two decades ago, Oprah Winfrey delighted guests when she gave away Pontiac G-6 sedans worth $28,500 to her entire studio episode with the refrain of "YOU GET A CAR!" in a moment that has since become an iconic meme. Now, you get a glorified JPEG and your very own stake in helping promote what can feel like a dorky multi-level marketing scheme.