'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon' Is Uneven But Not Terrible : Monkey See We look at the premiere episode of Jimmy Fallon's new show and invite you to judge the evidence for yourself.
NPR logo 'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon' Is Uneven But Not Terrible

'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon' Is Uneven But Not Terrible

As we mentioned this morning, Jimmy Fallon had his Late Night debut last night, and now that I've had a chance to see it, I have to say...it's not terrible. Parts of the first episode were terrible, but parts are pretty good, and I laughed out loud once, which isn't bad for a late-night show on its first night out.

The whole thing's up top, but we've got a full "good parts" dissection with clips, after the jump...

The monologue was only so-so -- if Fallon's jokes are going to be as predictable as this one, he needs to be more prepared when an audience member gets the jump on him. (Don't worry; these clips aren't all the same, even if they have the same freeze picture. It's a Hulu oddity.)

But I liked "Slow Jam The News," which takes advantage of what's easily Fallon's best asset: his house band is The Roots.

And I like "Lick It For Ten," which is precisely the kind of dumb, cheap joke I only secretly enjoy.

Unfortunately, the interviews are not good. Or, more specifically, they're only good when the guests do absolutely all the heavy lifting themselves, as Justin Timberlake did and Robert DeNiro didn't. Honestly, I thought Timberlake (who I often find a little overrated as a comedian) was fantastic last night.

Most guests are not Justin Timberlake; especially when you are Jimmy Fallon. Most guests are B-list; most guests are not experienced with sketch comedy; most guests need, rather than provide, support.

Fallon is going to need to get a lot better when he's sitting at the desk, but for the time being, the first 15 minutes or so may be worth catching. And who really wants to stay up until 1:30 in the morning anyway?