Tonight, Jimmy Fallon officially launches the next wave for The Tonight Show when he kicks off his reign as host. (Fallon shared his own excitement about taking over the late night institution with fans on Instagram.) Though he has been saying for months that his version of The Tonight Show won’t waver very much from the format established by Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, we won’t know whether or not that is true until after the credits roll on this evening’s premiere (and really, we won’t truly know until Fallon settles into a groove a few months from now).
His first week is packed with huge stars. Will Smith and U2 appear on tonight’s show, with Jerry Seinfeld, Kristen Wiig, and Lady Gaga handling guest duties on Tuesday. Wednesday includes Bradley Cooper and Tim McGraw, while Thursday’s show welcomes Michelle Obama, Will Ferrell, and Arcade Fire. Longtime Fallon friend and collaborator Justin Timberlake will be the sole visitor on Friday.
But there’s at least one thing we can take for granted going into tonight’s kick off, which airs at midnight to accomodate NBC’s ongoing coverage of the Olympics. No matter what bits, characters, and themes make the shift from Late Night to Tonight, the Roots will continue to serve as Fallon’s musical accompaniment and secret weapon. When the hip-hop collective took the job back in 2008, it seemed like a step down for a group who had already won a Grammy and scored a couple of gold records along the way. But now, they’re as big a cultural institution as they’ve ever been, and much of Fallon’s success has been fueled by The Roots’ ability to act as a savvy improv troupe and roll with the host’s musical whims.
In fact, most every one of the best moments from Late Night With Jimmy Fallon are music-related. In honor of the five years Fallon ruled the after-hours slot, here are five highlights of his run. READ FULL STORY