Thursday, February 23, 2017

New York Times Laments Jimmy Fallon's Soft Jabs at Donald Trump

     James Ponewozic, television critic for the New York Times,
praises  late night host Stephen Colbert for his caustic humor 
regarding Donald Trump, but criticizes Jimmy Fallon for "treading water" regarding the president.  There is no word on Ponewozic's opinion on Conan O'Brien, the elder statesman of late night, who was in Mexico City last week filming a special episode of his show with an all Mexican crew. As a comment in favor of open borders, one presumes.
      What begins as an article commenting on Colbert's sudden turn toward more biting political humor quickly turns into mournful nostalgia for the caricatured conservative character Colbert portrayed on his previous show. As half the one-two punch with John Stewart, Colbert was an oasis of liberal comedy for those who consider flyover country a savage wilderness. But the remainder of the article takes Fallon to task for going too easy on Trump.
    To be fair, political humor is not Fallon's strong point. His monologues on daily events are the weakest aspect of The Tonight Show. Fallon is good with impressions, playing silly games with guests, and generally promoting their latest projects as the greatest thing ever conceived. His approach is people just want to forget about the day and unwind before bed. The approach I working for hi. With few exceptions, Fallon has consistently won the late night ratings competition.
      Ponewozic spells out his problem with Fallon—by toning down the outage against Trump, Fallon is legitimizing his presidency. Fallon periodically portrays trump in comedy bits, but the jokes are rarely pointed policy jabs. Trump was once a guest on Fallon's show during the campaign. Te main take away humor was how fluffy Trump's hair was as Fallon ran his fingers through it. Daring to humanize Trump and perhaps even—gasp—portraying him as likable!
      One other note in Fallon's defense. His house band, The Roots, once played Fishbone's 1985 song “Lyin' A-- B-tch” as the intro music for Michele Bachmann's guest appearance on Fallon's previous show. Fallon publicly apologized. Quetlove, the bandleader, was nearly fired. Instead, all the band's musical numbers must be per-approved by NBC bras. So Fallon is likely going soft on public figures to avoid another incident like that one. Who can blame him? He has the cushier gig he ever will in his life and how he is handling it is working for him.
    The takeaway here is the frustration in all circles of the establishment, not just entertainment, over Trump appearing to be a legitimate political figure. Perhaps in the entertainment industry's case in particular, it is a matter of elf-loathing. If it were not for Trump's acceptance into the pop culture ranks, Trump would be just another wealthy businessman instead of President of the United States. Oops.

No comments:

Post a Comment