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Jimmy Fallon makes $1,400 on Tonight Show debut

Celebs show their love for the former Late Night and SNL star.
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Denette Wilford, February 18, 2014 5:12:24 PM

There’s something about Jimmy Fallon that makes him so relatable. He was never the most talented guy from Saturday Night Live, nor was he the funniest. But I can’t imagine late night without him. Fallon is so giving and willing to go wherever he has to go to make people laugh. He plays off celebrities so well, and clearly appreciates them. But what’s more evident is how the feeling is mutual. Not only did he manage to score some top-notch guests for his debut (Will Smith and U2) but some of his famous friends helped make The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon that much more memorable.

If you didn’t catch it or haven’t heard about it yet, Jimmy seemingly made a pretty penny with a bet that he won. After his show’s opening (directed by Spike Lee, someone who knows and loves New York), his sweet, heartfelt introduction, and hilarious monologue, Fallon thanked a “buddy,” and said they owed him $100 because they said Jimmy would never be the host of The Tonight Show. That’s when a steady stream of stars came from behind the curtain to pay up.

Robert De Niro kicked it off followed by Tina Fey, Joe Namath, Rudy Giuliani, Mariah Carey, Tracy Morgan, Joan Rivers, Kim Kardashian, Seth Rogen, Lindsay Lohan, Sarah Jessica Parker, Mike Tyson, Lady Gaga, and Stephen Colbert with his bag of coins, mostly pennies by the look of it. The two that stood out most were LiLo and Kim K., whose presence I didn’t get, and I was more than a little surprised that Lohan didn’t grab the money off Jimmy’s desk and run.

It’s that emotional sincerity and ability to make fun of himself that makes Fallon the ideal man for the job. There’s something undeniably likable about him and it’s obvious he truly loves his job and isn’t going to take it for granted. Fallon wants to entertain his audience, wants to make his guests happy and won’t lose himself in the process. His story is a relatable one, a guy making his dreams come true, even if — while growing up — they didn’t seem realistic.

Fallon has grown up in recent years and has transformed himself from the guy who couldn’t keep a straight face during a Debbie Downer skit to his humble, awkward beginnings as the Late Night host, to now. He exudes charm and an adorable goofiness that makes him hard to resist. Combine that with his clever writing staff and some killer music from The Roots and it makes me wonder what took NBC so long to promote Fallon to the 11:35 slot.

Jimmy kicked off his show by saying “I’m Jimmy Fallon and I’ll be your host … for now.” I think it’s safe to say he’ll be around for many years to come; plus, I doubt he’ll ever be short of famous guests who will be game to come on board and play along with him. What did you think of his Tonight Show debut?

Photo courtesy Bell Media

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Denette Wilford

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