David effing Ortiz
A few words about Jimmy Fallon
The first mix CD I made, with the first computer I ever had with a built-in CD burner, was embarrassing. There’s not much on it that I’m not ashamed of as a 23-year-old, if I could even remember half the songs that represented my musical taste as a sixth-grader.
But there are two tracks I vividly remember, probably because they’re the only tracks from “Jordan’s Mix #1” that have survived my evolving (lol) taste in music to have maintained a foothold in my library in 2014. They were two Jimmy Fallon Weekend Update parodies, one a few riffs on “The Phantom Menace” from 1999 (as a guest on Colin Quinn’s update desk!) and the other a few ditties about the 2002 Winter Olympics.
I don’t listen to them much anymore, but I like to remind myself every so often that they’re still there on my phone and computer, always ready for me. And tonight, more than any other night, it’s supremely important for me to remind myself of the 15-year “Point A to Point B” path Jimmy Fallon’s career has taken, and just how significant it is.
This isn’t to say “Hey, I got in on the Jimmy Fallon ground floor as an 11-year-old, so fuck you and your bandwagoning!” It is a little bit for me to brag/reflect about Jimmy being my first favorite comedian, the brightest star of SNL when pre-pubescent me, the middle child of a pop-culture-obsessed family, starting watching the show. It’s also about how my brothers and I used to watch his “Best of” DVD incessantly, about how I valiantly tried to amuse my friends with my best Z105 morning drive and Boston Sully impressions, about how I could listen to those silly parodies ad nauseam and still find them inventive and hilarious.
But mostly, this is just me thinking out loud about how fitting it is that Fallon is taking over The Tonight Show, and how resonant his comedy has been with me as I’ve made the trek from childhood to adulthood. I was too young to be cynical about his “annoying” impishness on SNL, always quick to defend his mid-skit crack-ups as just being human, and as appreciative of his own comedy as I was.
Then Fallon did some growing up, and so did I. He had his “movie career” and I had high school. When his Late Night premiere coincided with my freshman year of college, that too seemed perfect. Lorne Michaels was confidently throwing him into the deep end, while on a totally different scale, Binghamton University provided a deep end of its own for me.
And now, as he coasts into career adulthood, and I into just adulthood, I’m compelled to reflect and look forward. Whether or not he’ll be the “next Carson” or unite the late-night viewing contingent is irrelevant. What matters is this person who had such a prominent place in my childhood, adolescence and young-adulthood is now someone I’ll get to enjoy adulthood with as he enjoys his.
So I’ll be tuning in to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon tonight, and for as many nights as I can for as long as this crazy thing is happening.