Mark Evanier has wise things to say about Jimmy Fallon’s new 11:30 pm show on NBC.
I can’t bring myself to call it The Tonight Show, as I’ve always believed NBC should’ve retired that title like an exceptional athlete’s number when Johnny Carson retired in 1992. Jay Leno at least had some continuity to the original series. He was the official guest host for years, and like most comedians of his generation, his successful appearances on The Tonight Show launched his career.
Frankly, every talk show host on the air right now is doing their spin on David Letterman. I’ve argued that Stephen Colbert, out of his Comedy Central character, would be more in Carson’s style — an actual grown-up hosting a variety show grandparents, parents, and kids could all watch together. Leno was no Carson but he was hosting a more mainstream show. Now we have a far less diverse late night.
When I was in high school, during Carson’s last years on the air, there was The Tonight Show, Late Night with David Letterman, and The Arsenio Hall Show. All were unique and reached a distinct audience. You might see Eddie Murphy on the Carson or Letterman, as well as Arsenio, but you’d never see Richard Little or George Clinton on those programs.
I’ve no idea what Seth Meyers will do with Late Night that would distinguish it from whatever Fallon’s doing. I’m not inclined to watch and find out, so I’ll just check back in with Mark Evanier.
Roots Welcome Michele Bachmann to ‘Fallon’ With ‘Lyin’ Ass Bitch’ | SPIN.com
Roots Welcome Michele Bachmann to ‘Fallon’ With ‘Lyin’ Ass Bitch’ | SPIN.com.
In a supreme act of crudeness, the house band for “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” The Roots, chose to play the Fishbone song “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” as GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann walked on stage.
There’s been an ongoing debate as to how politicians should be treated on late night talk shows. Should they be grilled with tough questions as if they’re on “Meet the Press” or should they be allowed to pitch their product while the smiling host offers some good-natured ribbing that serves to humanize them? The latter is consistent with how any other celebrity guest is received. The former is probably well beyond the skill set of a late night talk show host.
I’m not a fan of Bachmann but if I took leave of my senses and invited her to my house, I’d extend her an appropriate degree of respect. I might not break out my favorite Tuscan red but I wouldn’t serve her some nasty, vinegar-tasting mess from a box. I definitely wouldn’t call her a “bitch.”
The media mostly considers this a puckish prank on The Roots’ part. This is a curious response to such flagrant disrespect of not just a woman but of a sitting member of Congress.
That could just be the fuddy-duddy in me, though. I’m sure if David Letterman’s band had played Tribe Called Quest’s “Sucka Nigga” as Herman Cain walked on stage, the fall out would be about the same.
By the way, Fishbone’s “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” provided the background vocal riff for Prince’s 1995 “Billy Jack Bitch.”
Posted by Stephen Robinson on November 22, 2011 in Political Theatre, Pop Life, Social Commentary
Tags: Jimmy Fallon, Michele Bachmann, The Roots