Jimmy Fallon, the new host of The Tonight Show.
Jimmy Fallon, the new host of The Tonight Show.

Last night Jimmy Fallon tried out his new digs at the newly built Tonight Show set located in Studio 6B in Rockefeller Center in New York and no doubt nailed his first performance. Always the professional and already well-known, Fallon began the show introducing the audience to who he is as well as the show’s band and announcer. He appeared genuinely humbled and perhaps even a bit nervous.

NBC’s Tonight Show has been on the air for almost 60 years and last night the show went through a number of transformations with new host Jimmy Fallon at the helm. First, last night’s show marked its return to New York after many years being broadcast from Burbank, CA. The show originally aired from New York from 1954-1957 where it made a brief stop in Chicago and was re-named Tonight! America After Dark! Then moved to Los Angeles before quickly coming back to New York, re-branded as the Tonight Show once again and stayed there until 1972.

Second, Emmy and Grammy Award-winning comedian Jimmy Fallon is the show’s 9th host. Steve Allen was the show’s original host from 1954-1957. Ernie Kovacs hosted during 1956-1957. Jack Lescoulie hosted the first half season of the newly branded Tonight! America After Dark! In 1957 while Al Collins hosted the second half. Jack Paar hosted the show from 1957 to 1962. Johnny Carson hosted the show the longest from 1962 to 1992. Jay Leno took over in 1992, stepped down in 2009 to make room for Conan O’Brien but came back in 2010. Fallon made a couple mentions about the O’Brien debacle including announcing that he would be the new host for the Tonight Show…for now.

Third, in addition to the new set in New York, Fallon’s former Late Night band, The Roots and announcer Steve Higgins, made the move with him.

Fourth, though technically a new show for Fallon, NBC states that many of the popular segments, celebrity sketches and musical parodies that fans have grown to love on Fallon’s Late Night, would be included in the Tonight Show including #Hashtags, Thank You Notes and Slow Jam the News.

Will Smith and Jimmy Fallon present the history of hip hop dancing.

Something that didn’t change was the ceremonial opening monologue.

Fallon’s first “human” guest to sit with him on the stage was Will Smith. Smith appears as a genuinely nice person and shared how he has told his children to remember that their job was to entertain the audience to help make their days a bit better. Once they start embracing their ego, it will all fall apart. Very wise words indeed.

Musical guests was U2 who actually performed outside on the top of the Rockefeller Center as well as an indoor acoustic performance of the Oscar nominated song, “Ordinary Love,” from the film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

U2 performing on the top of Rockefeller Center.
U2 performing on the top of Rockefeller Center.

One of the show’s highlights was when Fallon said that he wanted to thank his friend who said that Fallon would never become the Tonight Show host. “You know who you are. You owe me a hundred bucks,” said Fallon to which a number of celebrities briefly came on stage to pay their debt to Fallon including Lady Gaga, Joan Rivers and many others.

Future guests for this week’s shows include Jerry Seinfeld, Kristen Wiig and musical guest Lady Gaga (Tuesday), Bradley Cooper and musical guest Tim McGraw (Wednesday), First Lady Michelle Obama, Will Ferrell and musical guest Arcade Fire (Thursday) and Justin Timberlake (Friday).

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