As many in the pop-culture world are aware, Jimmy Fallon hosted his last Late Night this week. He is moving on to bigger and better things by inheriting the Tonight Show. But what can be said of the five-year legacy he leaves behind? This npr article touches on it very well saying “Because Jimmy Fallon lives on joy, and joy is not solitary.” Yes. Joy is exactly what sums up Jimmy’s approach to entertainment and is one of the reasons why I and many others love him so much. He is very different from the cynical comedians of the past, all of which have their place. But having him go out singing along with Muppets is very fitting. He is a muppet as well.
Hear me out, all of my favorite actors, actresses, comedians, etc are muppets in some way. Jimmy Fallon is a muppet-man because he entertains for the sake of entertaining and to bring others joy. His show was like the old Muppet show. He wouldn’t simply just interview his guests but he would play games and sing songs with them. Sometimes they would be odd choices that ultimately worked smashingly. Who would have thought of singing “Sexy and I Know It” with Bruce Springsteen, or having Tom Hanks do beat poetry about Full House, or competing in a lip-synch off with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Stephen Merchant. And any and everything he ever did with Justin Timberlake. I leave you to the internet to find all those and more comedic gold. Jimmy did all this and more with the exuberance and enthusiasm of a human Kermit the Frog.
But isn’t that joy and fun something we need in pop-culture today? It’s sorely lacking even in the comedic world, cynicism, and snark tend to be the norm. Other Muppet-humans however, like Jimmy, have tried to change that. Think of Tina Fey, who’s show 30 Rock was basically a live action cartoon/Muppet show. Pretty sure they knew this. Jason Segel is another muppet-man. I mean he re-booted the franchise even. I’m super excited that another muppet man, Ty Burrell, is going to be in the sequel. Other Muppet people include Maya Rudolph (watch her rapping with Elmo here), John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Amy Poehler and the entire cast of Parks and Recreation, Andy Samberg, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Fred Armisen, basically everyone on Portlandia and SNL, even Lorne Michaels is a Muppet (Sam the Eagle, duh).
If we all sought to bring joy to people like the Muppets and like Jimmy Fallon, the world, and the entertainment industry would be a much better place.