Jimmy Fallon is now thought of as the host of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, but some of us remember him as the guy on Saturday Night Live who didn’t seem to put anything into his characters, couldn’t keep a straight face, yet somehow carried the show through some of its middling years. But first he had to get on SNL. And for that, Fallon unloaded every impression he’s got.
Fallon, in his young 20s (he’s now 39) does the cast of Seinfeld, Gilbert Gottfried, Colin Quinn, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Bill Cosby (I think), Tommy Lee Jones, Bono, the Counting Crows, Jacob Dylan, Alanis Morissette and a few I couldn’t pick up.
In the moments between impressions, a little bit of nervousness slips in. It’s easy to see why. Fallon has to go from character to character, bit to bit, with almost no audience response. All he gets after eight minutes of impressions and characters is some scant applause. And that’s it. But it was good enough to launch a career that now has him interviewing celebrities from the comfort of his Late Night chair and still occasionally busting out celebrity impressions with the Roots as his backing band. Fallon has figured out a good mix of Letterman/Leno traditional late night stuff, blended with viral videos, like his series of songs with kid instruments or his epic version of Rebecca Black’s Friday with Stephen Colbert.
Nervous but funny 24 year-olds take heart from Jimmy Fallon, sometimes it all works out.