At the start of the year I made a deal with myself not to buy any DVDs in 2010. Our place is full of stuff and we really don’t need any more. As a result we’ve been using the DVR a lot more, mostly to record episodes of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. When I wrote about Late Night earlier this year Jimmy still hadn’t really hit his stride, but in the past few months both he and his crew seem to have shifted up a gear and are producing some really great telly moments.
Sure some of it is a big advert for some of the worst dross that Hollywood has to offer, but it’s worth sitting through every interview with a Sex and the City actor to see the stuff in between. So because I love a list and because Jimmy Fallon doesn’t get any coverage at all here in Australia here are some of my highlights from the past six months for your viewing pleasure (all links feed through to videos on the NBC site).
- Might as well start with the best. It’s pointless describing Let Us Play With Your Look so take your pick from either Zack Galifianakis or Sarah Silverman, sit back and enjoy. Will Ferrell and Alec Baldwin had highly popular turns too, but I think your first time is always the funniest, and these were mine...
- The Roots, the world’s greatest house-band bar none, play tribute to Michael J Fox with a rocking Back to the Future homage
- Betty White: the last Golden Girl standing talks about hosting Saturday Night Live for the first time in her 80s and offers a new take on Jay Z’s 99 Problems
- Brit indie-dancers Hot Chip play the title track off their 2010 album One Life Stand with the Roots and some steel drums and unexpectedly rock the house.
- Uber-grump John Cleese actually enjoying himself as Jimmy’s co-host on Wheel of Carpet Samples (fitting, since it’s a well crafted rip-off of Monty Python’s Silly Noises Quiz sketch)
- 30 Rock’s Tracy Morgan is a mentalist… no really. He is.
- Jimmy and Gwyneth Paltrow reminisce about their pre-fame career as 80’s rap innovators Shazzazz
- Jimmy versus Stephen Colbert. Talk show wrestlemania-geddon…
- LATE: parody of Lost about a lift full of passengers which crashes on a mysterious floor. Extra mad props for doing it as a big budget multi-parter that pays homage to the original and occasionally manages to out-weird it thanks to Questlove’s secret handshake, Higgins’ Shaggy impressions and Carlton the Goldfish Man
- The gorgeous Aubrey Plaza from Parks and Recreation discusses following her teacher home in a box. A star is born.
- ‘Thank You…’ Jimmy’s Friday night ritual of writing thank you notes to things, people, places and phenomena that make his life better. Proof that ‘repeat to fade’ can make even the silliest of jokes very funny…
- Ludacris performs ‘How Low’ with the Roots - with a bizarre Disco Duck cameo by Questlove and some early 90s time-warp midget backing dancers
- Jimmy sings the 12 Days of Christmas with the Muppets. Utterly lovable and I’m still jealous
- Of all the many audience participation games, Think About It, is my favourite. Participants are asked to think about stuff whilst their thoughts are transmitted to our screens via top secret technology electronic nipples mounted on their heads. Invariably they are shown to be thinking about something inappropriate, and every time it makes me giggle.
- Jimmy’s inability not to mention deadly spiders that live in swimming pools whenever he interviews anyone Australian
- An awestruck Jimmy interviews Barry and Robin Gibb from the Bee Gees for the first time since his SNL skit the Barry Gibb Talk Show (featuring Justin Timberlake as a painfully shy Robin) culminating in a three-way sing-a-long of Nights on Broadway. Class.
- Man in audience gets over excited about images from the Hubble Space telescope. And makes a rap video about it. Intergalactic multi-dimensional exploding space nebulae? Hubble Gotchu!
- Every so often Jimmy clears out his office and finds old VHS video instructions for office workers from the 80s. Made by a company called Video Vision they offer expert tips on a range of topics including sexual harassment, Christmas and, in this case, fire safety
- A reformed Public Image Limited perform Bags during which a strident John Lydon dispenses with sneaking expletives in through the back door (a la Pretty Va-cant) and instead stares into the camera and drops the c-bomb repeatedly to fade in a remarkable feat of mainstream swearing. And no one seems to notice…
- And finally, Jake Gyllenhall rocks the yellow boiler suit as he and Jimmy compare the finale of American Idol to a hedgehog doing karate. In dance.
If you’ve got any favourites to recommend then feel free to add below or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Fallon love-in starts here.