NBC’s Jimmy Fallon is defending his decision to keep his show from becoming an anti-Trump crusade like other late night hosts have, saying many of the president’s words and actions are just “too serious” for joke fodder. “With Trump, it’s just like every day’s a new thing. He gives a lot of material. A lot of stuff is hard to even make a joke about,” Fallon said on the Today Show. But he didn’t stop there.
To be sure, several late-night TV hosts have, since essentially the start of Trump’s winning his 2016 White House bid, made attacking and satirizing the president a big part of their monologues. Among them are Steven Colbert, host of CBS’s Late Show, and Jimmy Kimmel, of ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!
But while Colbert has long been associated with political satire, including his days with Comedy Central’s Colbert Report, Kimmel appears to have only recently seized on the anti-Trump movement, which has coincided with a ratings spike.
However, the decision by The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to not get on the anti-Trump bandwagon appears to have hurt the show’s ratings.
Fallon was number two to start the fall season, behind Colbert and ahead of Kimmel. Aside from losing the top spot, his viewership is down by 31 percent from a year ago, according to the most recent numbers published by Hollywood Reporter.
None of this is surprising. Late-night “comedians” have become an extension of the network they represent, and therefore the bias of that network. Fallon is to be commended for not piling on, for remaining a real comedian, and for a sense of fair play. But while this makes him more of a true journalist than many who sit in the nightly anchor chairs of evening news broadcasts, this balanced approach will not endear Fallon to his bosses – the same network who refused to even cover the Harvey Weinstein story for over a year.
As for me, I like Jimmy Fallon – not just because he is less biased then Colbert or Kimmel – but because he is actually funny. There was a time in late-night comedy when that counted for something.