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PopSyd: The changing of the ‘Tonight’ guard

19 February 2014 By Sydney Adamson, Associate Art Director One Comment

On Monday a brand new host took to the lucky four-leaf clover marker at “The Tonight Show” studios where decades of comedians have stood before. That new host was Jimmy Fallon.

Fallon began his venture as the new host of  “The Tonight Show” after leaving his spot at “Late Night” behind earlier this month.

To kick off his first show, Fallon made sure there were jokes to go around.

He first listed off “The Tonight Show” superlative winners to 2014 Olympic athletes. Fallon awarded snowboarder Chas Guldemond with ‘Most Likely to Host an Interior Design Show on HGTV’ and the award for ‘Most Likely to Be Able to Turn Water into Weed’ went to snowboarder Danny Davis.

He may be known for jokes like these but Fallon certainly does not take his place in pop culture history as a joke.

The comedian noted in his first opening monologue on Tonight Show that he is well aware of the lineage of past “The Tonight Show” hosts and takes the weight of the position seriously.

Speaking of history, not only did “The Tonight Show” get a new host, but a new, er, old area code.

When Fallon took over, he made the decision to move “The Tonight Show” back to New York City. His debut marked the first episode of “The Tonight Show” broadcast from New York City since Johnny Carson transported the show to California in the 1970s.

In switching coasts, Fallon’s new gig simply moves him down the hall from his previous spot at “Late Night.” And he’s not far from his former co-comedians at “Saturday Night Live,” either, as all three programs are housed in the same building.

Besides just the familiarity of the building, Fallon brought more familiar things with him to “The Tonight Show” as well. His live band The Roots and announcer Steve Higgins also made the move with Fallon.

Even more familiarity was found in Fallon’s laundry list of celebrity friends.

Fallon joked after taking a seat at his Tonight Show desk for the first time on TV that his “friend” would have to pay him $100 for losing a bet that said Fallon would never host “The Tonight Show.”

Fallon’s “friend” happened to be more than one friend, and those friends happened to be a slew of A-list celebrities. From Robert De Niro to Lady Gaga, Joan Rivers to Mike Tyson, Lindsay Lohan to Seth Rogen – all of these stars and more stopped by Fallon’s desk one by one to fork up the cash.

Of course, a Jimmy Fallon broadcast wouldn’t be complete without dancing. Fallon performed ‘The Evolution of Hip-Hop Dancing’ with his first guest, Will Smith.

The skit included the ‘Cabbage Patch,’ the ‘Hey Ho,’ Fallon’s attempt at twerking and ‘the Carlton,’ of course.

His first show also included not one but two performances from U2, an interview with Will Smith and even an appearance from Fallon’s own mom and dad.

With a star-studded first week, who knows what “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon has to offer in the years that will follow.

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