This article originally appeared on Noisey Australia.
I've never watched a full episode The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. There, I said it. I don't care. I know what you guys are gonna say: "Why are you shitting all over a show you've never even seen?"
I obviously don't know!!!! Okay? It could be any number of half-baked reasons! Like: Because I'm angry, because I don't get it, because Jimmy Fallon seems objectively unlikeable to me and because I'm supposed to write one or more articles a day or else I get fired!
Besides that, I'm actually pretty confident that I've seen enough "shareable" "content" from my "feed" to get the gist of what Fallon does on a weeknightly basis: Watch Jimmy Fallon Out-Do Blake Griffin and Ice Cube at Basketball. Vanessa Hudgens and Jimmy Fallon Sang the Friends Theme Like You've Never Heard It! Aziz Ansari and Jimmy Fallon Dramatically Read Bad Yelp Reviews!!!
Cool, nice. One question: Why the FUCK.
Why Vanessa Hudgens? Why Ice Cube? Why Friends for God's sake? Time fucking Magazine wrote that "Jimmy Fallon and Vanessa Hudgens got together to prove their undying love of Friends on The Tonight Show on Monday night" which, I'm afraid, is just not clarification enough for me. You prove your undying love for a series by singing the theme song karaoke-style on a variety show twelve years and nine months after said series' conclusion? It doesn't make any sense! There's no rhyme or reason here!
Meanwhile, outside 30 Rock, the whole fucking world is burning...
But maybe that's why you sickos are watching Jimmy and guest bob for apples—literally bob for apples that's not even a joke—night after night. Because you're so depressed and lost and confused that the only content you're capable of consuming is pointless, nonsensical drivel. Two sort of famous people reducing themselves to playing what is more or less theatresports written by @daquan. In front of an audience being actually forced to laugh by some off-screen producer, which frankly reminds me of a pretend sexual climax.
This show, this revolving door of oft-irrelevant guests, spattered with "interviews" in which Fallon laughs his silent, rocking-back-and-forth, hands-clapping laugh, at literally fucking everything, forcing his guest to play game after game like some kind of performing monkey is pretty much a goddamn episode of Black Mirror. See the below meme for reference.
I can't help but think if he weren't considered an "entertainer," if he hadn't got that job at SNL all those years ago, that Jimmy Fallon would still be that one guy you meet at a dinner party who insists on bringing Cards Against Humanity and an acoustic guitar because he actually doesn't know how to have fun. Whenever there's a lull in conversation, his crippling anxiety practically forces him to blurt out "Alright who wants to play a game?! Ha ha!"
So here we are. We're all watching these videos, ten years deep into the Instagram explore page, or perhaps a very tiny Facebook embed playing quietly in the corner of your computer while you "work" at your "job." And the terrifying screams of a studio audience ring in your headphones like white noise. And Jimmy Fallon pretends to not have known he was going to have to sing "Wheels on the Bus" in the voice of Michael Bolton shortly before doing it to perfection with a backing band—The Roots!!!! By the way!!! The Roots!!!!—because he not only wrote the skit but also rehearsed it for weeks!
And it just goes on and on like this: Jimmy plays basketball against a basketballer and is better than him at it; Jimmy Fallon sings a song with a professional singer for some reason; Jimmy Fallon can make people laugh as much as an award-winning comedian and writer can, watch!
Oh my god, we get it, you smoke being the center of attention. Jesus.
To make matters worse, the show is literally called The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Starring! Who's the guest here, Jimmy? Who is it? Is it you? Are you the guest? Are you the one with the interesting achievements and talents to exhibit? It sure frickin seems that way. You know what it also seems like? It seems like somewhere, at some point, we the general public indicated to Jimmy and NBC that we were very, very interested in seeing just what Fallon can do every single night of the working week. I mean, if I'm being honest, I have to say that I do not recall being part of that focus group.
Either way, the format is really working for Jimmy and NBC. It's always going viral and every goddamn news source seems to pick it up and I feel like I'm living in an alternate reality in which Jimmy Fallon is universally liked by everyone. And then I realize that's no alternate reality... That's this one. That's reality, man.
I'm still blaming the burning real world at large. But I've also decided that it's because Jimmy Fallon, despite all his best efforts to be a star, is a vessel. It's like how when people write fan fiction they write the protagonist bland enough so that the reader can place themselves in the story. Maybe audiences like Jimmy Fallon because he is utterly ignorable, utterly non-existent. Maybe that's why his laugh is silent? Maybe that's why he does all those impressions?
Whatever the reason, it pays. It pays as fuck, to be perfectly real with you. And I know that because sometimes I write about "The Ten Best Soundclowns on the Internet" or tell you to "Listen to This Mash Up of Linkin Park and The Seinfeld Theme Song" or some shit and let me tell you something: that's the stuff that people like to read. Google is telling me that's what we're into. Not long-form investigations into Aleppo or Manus Island, but "Here Are Thirteen Bits of Cheese That Look Like Kim Jong Il."
And so I guess that, in a dramatic turn of events, Jimmy Fallon is our fault. My fault, even. In the same way that if we hate Kim Kardashian, we really just hate ourselves. Because I'm part of that machine: Trying to keep people watching and paying attention. And Jimmy Fallon has turned himself into the human equivalent of saying to somebody "What's that!" while pointing behind them.
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