Jimmy Fallon, your TV buddy/ friend’s cool older brother/ fun uncle who’s also the same age as you, stepped onto the stage in studio 8H promising that this episode of “Saturday Night Live” was more than a show, it would be a party. He was right.
Even if you don’t like SNL, it is hard to deny that the show had that fun, undeniably Fallon flare.
Fallon wasted no time getting to the party, either. Half the audience stood up and danced to Jimmy’s cover of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance,” which was really perfect. Most SNL monologues are either politically pandering, non-comedic actors struggling to be funny, or jokes so low hanging that hosts have to pick the punch lines off the ground. This was old school Saturday Night Live: top tier comedians and musicians having fun. It set the tone for the whole show.
Take “Basketball Scene for example: it’s not “smart comedy” or much of an original idea but it’s hilarious. I have to believe actors take “sports movement” classes to that they can act like athletes.
The main reason the show worked so well was that Jimmy Fallon knew what he was doing. Oscar nominated actors (excluding Tom Hanks, obviously) struggle at SNL: they can’t read the cue cards, they aren’t used to performing live. etc. Fallon was on SNL for six years and does live comedy every night on his show. That experience makes the whole show go smoothly, unlike that high school production of Legally Blonde.
I loved that it felt like SNL from the early 2000s when Fallon was on the show. The Civil War sketch was vintage Jimmy and the “The Family Feud” sketch had some of the best impression work the show has seen in a long time.
“You look like a witch cursed you not to smile, but you tryin’ anyway,” is the line of the night. I really wish I could see Jimmy scrambling behind the scenes bouncing between his two Travolta’s. The audience loved it but we got nothing.
The show had it’s misses and flubs but it was the best SNL has been all season. Fallon returns to “The Tonight Show” tonight but we hope his party keeps going at “Saturday Night Live.”