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Jimmy Fallon's 'Tonight' turns 100

Jimmy Fallon was spotted shopping with 1-year-old daughter

(Credit: Getty Images / Slaven Vlasic)

Jimmy Fallon turned one hundred Monday night. (Congrats, Jimmy: Not easy. Even with vitamins.)

One hundred episodes of "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon." Otherwise known as one hundred chances to make NBC really regret one of the most momentous decisions in the network's long history. Or one hundred chances to prove NBC right ... over and over and over again.

The answer lies behind...

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Stephen Colbert keeping 'Late Show' in New York: Critic's analysis

Stephen Colbert, right, who will be staying in

(Credit: Comedy Central)

That Stephen Colbert would choose to keep "Late Show" in New York after succeeding David Letterman as host next year was perhaps not a foregone conclusion -- crazier things have happened, after all -- but it was as close to "foregone" as the word could possibly imply.

Colbert did not agree to undertake the enormous challenge of replacing a legend by uprooting staff and friends and relocating them 3,000 miles from family, hearth and home. A move to CBS' Television City -- which of course has a world-class facility for a late night talk show and has expanded the space for "The Late Late Show" too -- would have almost certainly meant losing key personnel -- possibly even the very people who have made "The Colbert Report" such a huge success.

No: He was going to stay in New York, and he was going to stay at the Sullivan, which is possibly the single most beautiful talk show studio on all of television. (Even better: It's haunted. Did you know that? Another post, another day.)  

Nevertheless, as foregone conclusions go, this is a very happy one. Not only will Colbert extend a tradition -- honestly the only late night tradition CBS has ever really had -- but it extends the tradition in the very city where late night TV was born, and where "The Tonight Show" is already proving, along with its host, that this really is the best place on the planet to mount a late night talk show. 

Los Angeles is fine -- I love L.A. (me AND Randy Newman). But it's just ... different, and it's not the sort of "different" that works well with a personality and style such as Colbert's: arch, intellectual and high velocity. His style was honed here, and here it must stay.   

Certainly this is a nice score for the city: Two hundred jobs will be saved, and while CBS did not specify how many of Dave's "Late Show" veterans will migrate over to Steven's "Late Show," the fervent hope is that many will. Dave's crew is excellent and understands the exigencies of mounting a late night show, night after night after night. Many are indispensable.   

And this is good for the New York production community overall. While average New Yorkers may have conflicted feelings about TV or movie production in New York every time they have to jump out of the way of a dolly or are nearly cold-cocked by a boom mic -- or are just sick and tired of having traffic backed up every time some chase scene for some cop procedural just has to shut down Madison Avenue between 23rd and 24th ... it's still all good. More jobs, more people in work, more everything.

Check out these very stats from the CBS news release announcing the deal with Gov. Andrew Cuomo: During calendar year 2013, applications for 181 film productions were submitted and included 124 films, 31 television programs, 25 pilots and one “relocated” television show. The impact of these projects includes: Generating a direct spend of $2.09 billion in NYS; Collecting a projected $466 million in credits; Hiring an estimated 126,301 actors and crew for the 181 projects submitted.

Looking at it all this way, "Late Show" -- which began here more than 20 years ago -- is the gift that just keeps on giving.

Chris Christie dances (sort of) with Jimmy Fallon on 'Tonight Show'

Host Jimmy Fallon, left, and NJ Governor Chris

(Credit: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon via YouTube)

One must do what one must do to leave the biggest scandal of one's administration behind, as one looks forward to 2016, and what one governor of the state of New Jersey, Chris Christie, did Thursday night was dance on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon."

No: It was NOT as painful as you might reasonably imagine; actually, it was even amusing. In this segment, Jimmy Fallon and Chrisite do the "evolution of dad dancing" (and as many dads will attest, they got this almost exactly right).

What will pundits have to say about Christie's latest moves? That at least, the very least, it briefly removed the association of those threee letters -- "G," "W," and "B" -- from his name. And all it took was a dance-off with Fallon to do so.

Long-term effects? Three more letters: "TBD."

Will Dave Chappelle return to TV?

Dave Chappelle dropped by the ?Late Show? on

"Why did Dave Chappelle leave?"

Aren't you sick of that question, too? (Chappelle is, I would imagine.) It's one of those evergreen queries permanently embedded in the Internet hivemind -- and if you don't believe me, type in "why did Dave ..." and let Google complete the question for you.

It's obnoxious, tiresome, a reflection on our world's fixation on the trivial and the over-and-done-with....

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Robinson Cano on 'Tonight Show'

Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano looks on

(Credit: Getty Images / Mike Ehrmann)

Sure, sure, Yankee fans love Robinson Cano., They also hate Robinson Cano. This is apparently the same sort of ambivalence that Red Sox fans have about Jacoby Ellsbury. Except, the Cano emotional conflict is even deeper, more....conflict-y.. To that end, "Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" last night attempted to calm the ragged feelings of abandoned fans...

 

 

...

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Brian Williams raps 'Gin and Juice' on 'Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon'

Brian Williams, a rappin', rhymin' anchorman.

(Credit: AP / Evan Agostini)

"Gin and Juice." Brian Williams. NBC News. Hip-hop.

Words, ideas, even a collective visual package that doesn't quite fit. But check it out, yo: a rappin', rhymin' anchorman on Monday night's "Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," when Williams made his first appearance on this new edition of the classic, preceded by another clever fast-cut of countless Williams sound bites that somehow, miraculously, are all merged into one two-minute (or so) not-bad-at-all version of the old Snoop Dogg song. Williams -- who really has no hand in any of this -- was "rap"-sodized by Fallon on "Late Night," too.

I suspect this will go viral, if it has not already.

Warning: Language may be offensive to some.

(App users, watch the video here: http://nwsdy.li/1hbIJgP)

Jimmy Fallon's tribute to David Letterman, as Top 10 List

Jimmy Fallon and more stars spotted in NYC.

(Credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

From last night's "Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," this nice little gift: A Top 10 list tribute to David Letterman, effectively designating the top 10 reasons why David Letterman is retiring. The first five are the best, just to give you a heads up. Plus Fallon's opening to this is both gracious ... and interesting:

Jimmy Fallon, Sarah Palin, Vladimir Putin: Strangest of bedfellows

Sarah Palin and Jimmy Fallon re-enacted a phone

(Credit: YouTube / Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon )

Sarah Palin -- promoting her new Sportsman Channel series "Amazing America," which launches Thursday night -- was on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" on Wednesday, playing to Mama Bear character and daring Jimmy Fallon's now-established "Vlad Putin" to invade Alaska.

It was all quite amusing and established once again that late night TV remains the oddest of American art forms.

Watch the video below.

(Newsday's app and mobile users can click the link above to watch.)

A blue Joan Rivers returns to 'The Tonight Show'

Joan Rivers visits "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy

(Credit: Getty Images / Theo Wargo)

Joan Rivers returned to "The Tonight Show" last night after a 28-year absence marked by recriminations, ill feelings, and insidery show biz back-biting.

And of course she was late to the set.

In fact, Rivers had a very brief cameo on Jimmy Fallon's very first show last month, but let's call last night the first real return.

But no matter. History of sorts was made and even if the return of the former late night queen was a bit blue, a little bit muddled -- and utterly devoid of truth -- so be it. Joan returned to the set that made her famous.

The best part: A nice gracious nod to Johnny -- no last name needed, right? -- which I suppose means no hard feelings anymore.

The interview pointed up the weakest aspect of the new host who otherwise -- as my few readers well know -- I have praised to the Studio 6B rafters. He is in fact doing a bang-up job, except his interviews tend to be exercises in non-information, as last night revealed in abundance.

Why did you not get invited back, he asked her?

He knows why, of course. Everybody knows why. But I also suspected the question was basically just a set-up for one of her oldest jokes.

The reason (if you actually don't know, by the way) is the second to last clip here. While Rivers was chief stand-in at  Carson's "Tonight" -- one of TV's greatest gigs because Johnny did take quite a few days off in the latter years as you'll recall -- she took a job at Fox to host a late night show and direct competitor to Carson. She never told Johnny; he saw her move as a betrayal (and it was certainly that) and he never spoke to her again. Rivers has made all sorts of excuses over the years -- oh, Edgar made her do it! (Edgar Rosenberg, her husband and agent, now deceased.) She couldn't tell Johnny because that would scuttle the deal. And so on.

But the fact remains. Joan betrayed Johnny.

Jay Leno, out of respect to Carson, kept her off his show. Jimmy, who's had her on "Late Night," certainly felt no compunction to do the same. In fact, he's right -- there is no reason. It's all ancient history. (Her "Late Show" essentially launched Fox back in October of '86, and the network fired her the following May.)

Another odd sidebar: David Letterman, who revered Johnny, buried the hatchet with her about four years ago.   

Clips. The second one is from her "Tonight" days, and is fascinating because Johnny holds up the photo from Joan's first date on "Tonight," 21 years earlier. Jimmy did the same last night. 

Meanwhile, I've put up the Letterman interview, too. Dave lays it all out very well. Infinitely better than last night's somewhat sad return.

She was often funny during her long association at "Tonight," and could've -- just possibly, maybe, who knows! -- even been the next "Tonight" host. But alas.

Billy Joel duets with Jimmy Fallon, talks new Sirius radio channel on 'Tonight Show'

Billy Joel joins Jimmy Fallon during a taping

(Credit: Getty Images / Theo Wargo/NBC)

Billy Joel -- a very famous New Yorker, after all -- arrived at the new New York-based "Tonight Starring Jimmy Fallon" to effectively consecrate Fallon's Gothamized version Thursday night, and did so by breaking a little news, about a forthcoming Sirius channel -- and by singing a duet of that old Solomon Linda chestnut, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," with the host.

Of the Billy Joel Channel, he admitted he didn't entirely know what he was going to do with it, but that's OK -- it's his channel to do whatever he darn well likes.

Plus, some talk about WLNG -- a Sag Harbor station you likely know well -- and the fact that the stage of MSG is built on springs.

All interesting. Here are the clips.

(App readers, watch them here: bit.ly/1gOPlBl)

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