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The world of late night television has become increasingly crowded in recent years. No longer just for entertainment, hosts such as Trevor Noah and John Oliver have brought a political edge that has almost become expected of modern hosts – leading many to accuse Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon of being “too soft” for not partaking in such endeavors. However, he has some strong words for those would criticize him:
That’s not my job. It’s not Meet the Press. I’m not Face the Nation … We have people on that people don’t like. I know that. But that’s not my job. You make your own opinion. I can just show you the best person that they are and try to bring out their more personal side and play with them.
This statement comes from a recent interview between Fallon and Bill Carter on SiriusXM. In it, Jimmy Fallon explained that his happy-go-lucky, gregarious nature comes naturally to him, and he has no interest in skewering his guests when they come on. Desiring to create a show that is fun for the audiences and the guests, Fallon steers clear of polarizing questions or attempts to attack those who come on his show. Throughout this interview, he highlighted that most figures who appear on his program have much more of a desire to partake in his goofy sketches and bits than to have a hard-hitting conversation – which Fallon has no problem with.
For comparison's sake, fellow late night host Stephen Colbert brought certain elements of his politically charged Comedy Central persona over to CBS when he took over The Late Show just a few weeks ago. When controversial Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump appeared on Colbert’s program, the host made some concerted efforts to talk the billionaire into a corner – particularly in regards to President Barack Obama’s American citizenship. When Trump appeared on The Tonight Show, Fallon generally kept things light and sketch-oriented.
There’s certainly room for both ideologies to inhabit the late night television viewing. Sure, immeasurable humor can be found in depths of partisan politics and going after people, but there’s also other ways to entertain. By steering clear of the political arena, Fallon manages to carve out a niche for himself that harkens back to the classic days of Johnny Carson and the variety shows of the 1970s. You can check out The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on weeknights over at NBC and can catch the full interview here.