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Jimmy Fallon, Jay Leno duet: Funny? Sad? Stupid? Smart?
OK, show of hands - funny, not funny?
Effective or a waste of time?
Hey wait a minute, this is my column, and I'm going with "funny," "effective," "smart."
That would be early Tuesday's morning Jay Leno/Jimmy Fallon duet on "Late Night" - an adroitly autotuned rendition of the Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim classic, "Tonight" from "West Side Story:" "Toniiight, toniiight, who's gonna host 'Tonight?' Is it gonna be Jimmy or Jaaaaayyyy..."
And so on.
It wasn't riotous - "30 Rock" used to do riotous - but there is something to be said for "getting ahead of your own story," which both Fallon and Leno accomplished, and (in a way) so did hapless NBC.
And what exactly is "this story?" That Jimmy will probably take over a dramatically diminished, no longer-culture-bending "Tonight" in '14, and that Jay will get a talk show on some other network.
That they will make millions. That no one will get hurt. That viewers and other assorted organisms with short attention spans - specifically TV critics - will forget about this in a few years.
That about sums it up. And life will go on.
If you can't make fun of that via bowdlerized Bernstein, then what can you make fun of exactly? Naturally this story isn't going away - check back in this space for endless wrinkles on it in the months to come. But it will be nice to remember that for one moment anyway, Jay and Jimmy were adult enough to see just how silly this whole "late night battle" thing really is.
Now, if only Anne Curry and Matt Lauer can get their own "West Side Story" groove on.
May I suggest "Somewhere," or better yet, "One Hand, One Heart?"