02/17/14 by Rennie Detore
Jay Leno is out. Jimmy Fallon is in. For now.
Doubt regarding the future of Fallon as the new host of "The Tonight Show" is founded, given the events the last time Leno left the long running talk show.
If Fallon taking over for Leno feels a bit like deja vu, it should. It wasn't that long ago that Leno gave up the famous chair for Conan O'Brien, longtime host of "Late Night," the show that followed Leno's for years.
O'Brien barely had a cup of coffee as host of "The Tonight Show," before Leno found his way back on to the show. Some have suggested Leno never really wanted to leave. Other argue that NBC saw enough of O'Brien in just a matter of months, and felt like he just wasn't the right fit.
Fans of Fallon have every right to wonder quietly or aloud whether Leno might be interested in putting off retirement from "The Tonight Show" for a second time. Who's to say Leno won't grow tired of sitting at home on his couch and decide that he's ready for round number three?
Fallon assumes his show hosting duties on "The Tonight Show" on February 17, and Leno might be inclined and content to ride off into the sunset once and for all, but those who question whether Fallon is just another placeholder while Leno recharges his batteries certainly have plenty of motivation behind that theory.
That said, Fallon feels right as the kingpin of late night talk. And if you need any more proof that he's going to have a long standing tenure as host of "The Tonight Show," here goes:
1. The "R's" have it
Fallon has a little more relevancy than O'Brien when it comes to how he delivers his jokes, the show's writing and references. A wider demographic can relate to Fallon, who comes across as a little more humble and charming. Now let's get one thing straight: O'Brien is incredibly talented and is one of the sharpest and wittiest writers you'll ever bump into, but his "Tonight Show" material fell flat with Leno's older audience. O'Brien is quirky and never really struck that right cord with the Leno leftovers. Watching enough of Fallon, you can see he won't have that same roadblock.
2. Sense of Humor
Fallon is one of the more revered and relevant "Saturday Night Live" cast members in recent memory, and the way he delivered the news or put together a sketch is straight comedic gold. O'Brien certainly had his moments, too, but Fallon seems more seasoned in this regard. Fallon also isn't afraid to show off his musical acumen in a parody type role, whether he's a dead ringer for Bruce Springsteen or is doing his best Neil Young impersonation. That type of extracurricular activity on his show spells anything but doom for him.
3. Social Media
It's not hard to figure out how to extend your popularity and reach well beyond just the television medium. Fallon is a superstar when it comes to social media, and not only uses it for promotion but also within some of his material. His "Hash tag" Wednesday pokes a little fun at Twitter, but he's laughing at more than just his own jokes. That Wednesday night routine always finds itself as a top trending topic worldwide. That should equate to a least a "few" more viewers.
It's hard not to root for or like Fallon if you paid attention to even a couple minutes of his "Late Night" program. He's remarkably likeable and funny, two tremendous staples of any successful television figure.
Given Leno's laziness and lackadaisical demeanor over the last few years, Fallon will feel like a breath of fresh air, the kind of energy and surge that the "Tonight Show" chair has sorely been missing.
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