Comedian Jimmy Fallon offered a heartfelt, introspective start to his reign as host of The Tonight Show Monday night, marveling at his career arc and thanking his parents for their support.
Fallon also served notice that everyone is fair game now that he’s the new NBC comedy sheriff.
“These are jokes based on what’s going on in the news … I’ll make fun of everybody, anyone I can make fun of I will,” he said about his future monologues. “My goal is to make you laugh and put a smile on your face so that you go to sleep with a smile on your face and live a longer life. Isn’t that the whole goal of what we’re doing, to have fun?”
The 39-year-old host said all the right things during his debut, but given his track record of treating President Barack Obama with comic deference and his band’s nasty slam against guest Rep. Michele Bachmann it remains to be seen if he can approach ex-host Jay Leno’s nonpartisan spirit.
Fallon’s first show delivered robust ratings, although roughly the same as failed Tonight Show host Conan O’Brien garnered back in 2009 before he began losing viewers with alacrity.