Lots of folks in the comedy community make a habit of giving Jay Leno a hard time — but Jimmy Fallon isn’t one of them. Even during the Great Tonight Dust-Up of 2010, Fallon refused to jump on the anti-Leno bandwagon, preferring instead not to take sides — and to assure his audience that he was just “happy to have a job.” (Granted, unlike Jimmy Kimmel or David Letterman, Fallon was working for the same network as Leno and Conan O’Brien — so it’s easy to understand why he’d want to take a neutral stance.)
And even now, mere weeks before Fallon is set to inherit Leno’s on-again, off-again late night throne, he’s still erring toward humble and gracious. As a guest on Leno’s fourth-to-last Tonight Show ever Monday, Fallon feted his predecessor as “the nicest guy in the business” — before launching into a “thank-you note” bit that celebrated Jay.
Melissa McCarthy is on a roll. Not only did she star in two of last year’s biggest comedies, but she’s also hosted Saturday Night Live in each of the last three seasons — the only performer to achieve that feat in that span. This past weekend, she didn’t even have a project to plug — a detail that became a funny gag in her opening monologue — but she’s one of those guests who clearly loves the show’s comedy environment. In fact, no one throws him or herself into characters more than McCarthy, who craves physical comedy perhaps more than any female comedian since Molly Shannon.
McCarthy had to share the limelight on Saturday, what with Seth Meyers’ touching farewell, but she delivered some great moments, including the return of aggressive coach-turned-congresswoman Sheila Kelly. It seems certain that she’ll be a major contender for Mr. Saturday Night after finishing second in the past two years, and she enters a race that is wide open. Jimmy Fallon holds a narrow lead, with 26.5 percent, while Drake slipped from first to a close second, with 24.3 percent. Josh Hutcherson saw his support nearly double from last week, and his fans have him right near the top, with 21.4 percent. Jonah Hill had a disappointing debut, with only 17.9 percent, but that was enough to eliminate Kerry Washington.
A quick rundown on our objective: To identify the funniest, most memorable SNL host, the person who best fit in with the cast and put on a performance that you, your mom, and your co-worker were all chuckling about on Sunday afternoon. It’s subjective, of course, but let’s reward the guest hosts who brought something special to the table. My own personal bottom line: Do you want to see this host back on the show next season?
So far, Bruce Willis, Miley Cyrus, Edward Norton, Lady Gaga, Tina Fey (Blerg), John Goodman, Paul Rudd, and Kerry Washington have been eliminated.
Below, I’ve embedded one representative clip for each of the five hosts currently in the race. After the poll closes, the host with the least support will be eliminated, and the surviving four will face off against the next host — still unannounced — on March 1, after the Winter Olympics are finished.
Jay Leno’s blitz of interviews in advance of his mandatory retirement from The Tonight Show reminds us that a graceful exit is hard to do — especially when people won’t let you.
Anyone expecting or wanting some sour chin music from the iconic comedian during his much-hyped appearance on Sunday’s 60 Minutes was probably disappointed. But it was tart enough, thanks to Steve Kroft’s decision to cast Leno’s story as a cultural flashpoint for a seismic generational shift, with aging baby boomers ceding/losing power to their kids and grandkids. CBS never accused NBC of ageism, but it used some choice factoids and soundbites from Leno to suggest that the network wasn’t doing right by its good and faithful servant, still the No. 1 player in late night. Following an intro in which Kroft cited research showing Leno to be the fifth most popular personality on TV and pitched his twilight-of-the-boomers premise, the piece proper began with Leno — jokingly — telling the story that he says he tells any newbie in the business, that the reason why showbiz pays so well is because “eventually, you are going to get screwed. That’s the way it works… That’s the way these things are.” No effort was made to define “it” or put “these things” in context (or ask NBC for comment) or what fairness looks like or should look like in an ad-supported business in which not all demographic groups are monetized equally. Leno might be the fifth most popular personality on television, but these days, that distinction comes with a trail of tiny little asterisks. READ FULL STORY
Martin Scorsese’s one and only muse, Jonah Hill, hosted Saturday Night Live for the third time over the weekend, and not only did he bring along his Wolf of Wall Street sidekick, Leonardo DiCaprio — an SNL virgin — but he also reunited with his Superbad pal Michael Cera. Hill, who may have forgotten to mention that he’s now a two-time Oscar nominee (for Wolf and Moneyball), also resurrected his Catskills-comic-inspired 6-year-old Adam Grossman and… and…
Okay, let’s cut to the chase. The show was solid. Some real funny bits. But Jonah and Leo doing their Titanic relaxation exercise was the show-stopper, a moment that crowned Hill as king of the comedy world — at least for a moment. If Hill had dropped the mic right then, I think he’d already done enough to advance in our Saturday Night Live best host poll.
But if Hill is here to stay, who’s on the outside looking in? It’s certainly not Drake, who debuted in first place with a solid 54 percent. And it’s certainly not Jimmy Fallon, who slipped to second but can be counted on to hang around with 24 percent. Josh Hutcherson refuses to go quietly, scoring double-digits again, and Kerry Washington edged Paul Rudd to survive another elimination.
A quick rundown on our simple objective: To identify the best, funniest, most memorable SNL host, the most memorable guest who fit in with the cast and put on a performance that you, your mom, and your co-worker were all chuckling about on Sunday afternoon. It’s subjective, of course, but let’s reward the guest hosts who brought something special to the table. My own personal bottom line: Do you want to see this host back on the show next season?
So far, Bruce Willis, Miley Cyrus, Edward Norton, Lady Gaga, Tina Fey (Blerg), John Goodman, and Rudd have been eliminated.
Below, I’ve embedded one representative clip for each of the five hosts currently in the race. After the poll closes, the host with the least support will be eliminated, and the surviving four will face off against Melissa McCarthy on Feb. 1.
Listen up, future Hollywood stars: Jay Leno has some advice for hopeful comedians.
“I always tell new people in show business, ‘Look, show business pays you a lot of money because eventually you’re going to get screwed. And when you get screwed, you will have this pile of money off to the side….That’s the way it works,'” Leno told Steve Kroft on 60 Minutes Sunday night.
To Leno’s mind, “getting screwed” is what is — once again — happening to him. In the 15-minute interview, Leno was simultaneously defensive — like when he explained for the umpteenth time he had nothing to do with Conan O’Brien’s 2010 Tonight Show departure — and resigned to the next chapter, like when he explained that, at 64, he simply doesn’t have his finger on some of the “social” aspects successor Jimmy Fallon does. “I see him do a dance number with Justin Timberlake and I think, ‘Well, I can’t do that.’” (He also copped to not knowing the latest Justin Bieber single — which more than a few people would actually count as a positive.)
Looking back on his 22-year legacy (Leno’s final show is Feb. 6), Leno acknowledged he wasn’t always a critics’ favorite, but pointed out his consistent number one ratings as proof he must be doing something right. “You’re trying to appeal to the whole spectrum,” Leno said about writing monologue jokes. “For every smart, insightful joke, there’s a goofy joke ….that’s the trick. You try to have something for everybody.”
Sure, Justin Bieber may have endangered lives when he was drunk driving and drag racing in Miami. But he gave late night some great material last night, so for that, we can thank him. Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, and Conan O’Brien all took the opportunity to rag on America’s favorite/least favorite 19-year-old, and here’s what they had to say: READ FULL STORY
Kicking off Saturday Night Live‘s 2014 season was Drake, the one-time Canadian teen soap star who now spends his days singing and rapping with the best in the business. And as longtime SNL fans know, musical hosts can be tricky. Luckily for the show, Drake seemed to have picked up some comedic talent in all his years in Hollywood. In her recap, Hillary Busis was even tempted to give Drake the award for Cast MVP by the end of the night, noting how “he played a main role in every single sketch tonight … and was so charming that I’m already counting down the days until he comes back for a second round.”
But the question remains: Was Drake funny enough to go up against the best hosts this season’s had to offer? Or perhaps the better question is: Was Drake funny enough to go up against Jimmy Fallon? The late-night host dominated our last poll with 60 percent of the vote, followed by Josh Hutcherson, who continues to garner support with 32 percent of the vote. The bottom three all earned less than 5 percent of the vote, with Kerry Washington in third, and Paul Rudd in fourth, thereby knocking John Goodman out of the competition (by only .31 percent).
Picture this: You’re Bruce Springsteen’s biggest fan. You’ve seen him in concert at least 130 times; you know the words to every song he’s ever written; one time, he gave you a hug, and you responded by bursting into tears.
Then you find out that your idol spent last night making fun of you on national television.
That’s the curious situation in which New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie finds himself this morning, days after his administration was first rocked by the scandal I guess we’re officially calling “bridgegate.” (Why? Everyone knows Watergate wasn’t actually about water, right?) Tuesday’s edition of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon featured Fallon breaking out his well-worn Bruce impression for a revamped version of “Born to Run” all about that infamous GWB traffic jam. And partway through the performance, Fallon was joined by none other than Springsteen himself — in a matching cutoff button down, red bandana, and pair of sunglasses. This, too, might make Christie cry… though clearly for different reasons.
How do you distill five years, gazillions of YouTube views, and countless celebrity games into a single two-hour special? Viewers will find out tonight at 9 p.m. ET, when NBC hands primetime over to impending Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon.
With only about seven weeks to go until Fallon finally inherits that franchise from once and current host Jay Leno, it’s the perfect time to reminisce about his Late Night‘s highest highlights… and to start speculating about how, exactly, Fallon plans to inject Tonight with the same sort of wide-eyed, internet-friendly humor he’s peddled at 12:36 for the past half-decade. Having seen the special in advance, I can assure you that it features plenty of material sure to please avid Fallon fans — and, perhaps, to convince skeptics that he really is the right man for the Tonight gig as well. And when watching a compilation like this, you may also start to notice that certain patterns emerge — which is where the drinking game thing comes in.
So when 9 p.m. rolls around, sit back, relax, and crack open something cold — and if you’d like to make the viewing experience even more amusing, feel free to follow the rules laid out below. Obviously, PopWatch cautions you to celebrate responsibly — not everyone’s got the constitution of Betty White.
When Jimmy Fallon aced the Christmas 2011 episode of Saturday Night Live, yours truly suggested that his hosting become an annual holiday event. The former cast member and future Tonight Show host has all the skills to be one of show’s best guests, and he was in top form when he stepped back in to Studio 8H over the weekend to spread some more Christmas cheer. He sang, he did impressions, he broke character — it was the full-on Fallon treatment. Admittedly, he had some assistance from Justin Timberlake — Bing Crosby to Fallon’s Bob Hope — but you can’t penalize a guy for having funny, charismatic friends.
Safe to say that Fallon is about to make a huge impression on our Mr. Saturday Night poll. In fact, with none of the other four contenders with more than 26 percent of the vote, the field is wide open for Fallon to set a first-week record for support. Last week, John Goodman eked out a win, but it wasn’t a margin of victory that promises him a long life in our season-long contest. Paul Rudd was right behind, while Kerry Washington slipped to a close third, despite an encouraging six-point bump. Josh Hutcherson rallied support, eliminating Tina Fey, who’d been hanging precariously since hosting the season premiere. Blerg. READ FULL STORY