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Exactly two weeks in, how's the most important, pivotal and historic programming move of the year - of many years - going so far, referring here of course to "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon"? On the most basic level of them all -- numbers -- almost amazingly well. Thanks to DVR, or time-shifted viewing -- which has essentially become the coin of the realm in late night, making late night TV essentially "watching-the-next-day-during-your-coffee-break" TV -- the show boosted total viewership by 2,000,000 viewers for the first week. That makes for a total of 10.4 million, or the most for one week since Johnny Carson's last week in May of 1992 (just under 20 million -- so, no contest, of course). And here's the clincher: The average age of that audience is just under 53 years of age, or a drop of around six to seven years in age from Jay's show. Keep in mind -- NBC engineered this whole business as a mean of reversing "Tonight's" graying audience.
But from a critical perspective, how is this show doing? There's nothing here that suggests I should change my initial impression -- a positive one -- except that maybe I might offer an even more positive spin at this point: This has been an excellent two weeks for Fallon on the air. Sure, the "interviews" often seem more like rolling kaffeeklatsches absent substance, but with plenty of laughs and non sequiturs (the rambling on about the "Rocky" franchise with Paul Rudd, for example). But get past those -- and they do tend to be amusing -- and you have yourself a revitalized, enjoyable, and surprisingly smart new "Tonight." Fallon's monologues -- of all things! -- have been one of the strong points: Effortless, funny, roll-with-the-punches and smart. Fans knew all along he could nail this show, but the new monologues-on-steroids strategy was certainly something to be concerned about. (Fallon is a fine performer, but he's not a joke machine.) But he's nailed that too.
Meanwhile, the embedded comedy -- for want of a better term -- has been a standout as well. Here is one example: Last night's "Wastepaper Basketball with LeBron James." Not quite comedy, but a catchy interlude nevertheless.
The second edition of "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" is now officially history -- and the third will be history at this time tomorrow, but that's another post -- and as part of this historic occasion: Jerry Seinfeld.
There were two Jerrys last night -- the stand-up Jerry and the sit-down Jerry. Here are both clips for those who may have missed them (app readers, go to newsday.com/tvzone,...Read more »
We have a winner and the winner is Jerry. Jerry Seinfeld stole the ad bowl of Super Bowl XLVIII, and that, my friends, is a wrap.
Why did I love this ad, which almost didn't seem like an ad -- which may have answered my own question? Clip below. In part because I'm a fan of "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" -- which this promoted -- and because "Seinfeld" remains TV's greatest comedy 75 years in, so a nice little minishow in the big show, which happened to have been set in New York (or New Jersey, but you get the point) made it even better.
The top of my piece for the best Super Bowl ads in Monday's Newsday:
1.) "Seinfeld Reunion/Crackle:" That old tease, Jerry Seinfeld, told listeners of WFAN last week that his "Seinfeld" reunion wasn't a Super Bowl commercial, then amended that by saying it was "not not" one either. The dead giveaway there. But as it appeared last night, at Tom's Restaurant, with Jerry and George, and Newman supplying the kicker, this was the Super Bowl ad we all live for -- a fun, well-executed surprise that made us (me) miss "Seinfeld" all over again. Plus, his "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" is worth the plug.
And here's more. Seinfled has sent out this quote, which I suppose is his way of wiggling out of saying he wasn't doing a Super Bowl ad:
“Fox approached Larry and me about doing some kind of ‘Seinfeld’ reunion for the halftime broadcast because of the New York connection. So we thought throwing Jerry, George and Newman into a 'Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee’ was a fun way to do it. Larry and I wrote the script in one sitting, just like old times, and working with him, Jason and Wayne was a total blast as it always was.”
(Newsday app readers please go to newsday.com/tvzone.)
Crackle's "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" is one of the best things on TV...umm, the Internet -- but you know what I mean -- and today, I think we can actually say it is also "must-see:" Jay Leno's turn in the passenger seat has arrived, and I've seen...funny, as hell. Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno are old friends, and between them own probably every single rare car and/or motorcycle between Malibu and Tuscaloosa. These dudes know their comedy and their wheels (and their wheels are primo...)
Take a look, and you are welcome...