Channel: Paper RSS Feed
Viewing all articles
Browse latest Browse all 7783

Fallon vs. Meyers: The Battle for Late Night Supremacy

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 2.05.49 PM.pngAs anyone who refuses to go to bed at a reasonable hour knows, things in the world of late night have shaken up once again. But this time around, thankfully, it has nothing to do with two bickering, egotistical old dudes doing their best to desperately cling to their last scraps of comedic relevancy. Instead, Saturday Night Live head honcho Lorne Michaels continues to tighten his death grip over post-primetime comedy programming at NBC, helping former SNL golden boy Jimmy Fallon make the transition from his Late Night gig into becoming the sixth host (in as many decades) of America's highest-rated late night show, the legendary Tonight Show. Last night Fallon kicked things off in an appropriately spectacular way, welcoming a cavalcade of A-listers (Robert DeNiro, Lady Gaga, Will Smith, and Rudy Giuliani -- among many others -- all came through to pay off a $100 bet that Jimmy would never host the show), doing the evolution of hip-hop dancing with Will Smith, and letting U2 literally rock the roof off of 30 Rock.

Big shoes to fill, indeed, but next Monday, former Weekend Update anchor and fellow SNL alum Seth Meyers will take over Jimmy's vacated Late Night spot. Even though Fallon has an eminently more visible fan base (see their social media stats, below), expect some of that to change in the coming weeks. With that in mind, we decided to break down these two new sibling late night shows to their core components to see who is going to give viewers the most bang for their buck after 11:30pm in 2014.

Quick Stats

Jimmy Fallon: 39
Seth Meyers: 40

Marital Status
Jimmy Fallon: Married film producer Nancy Juvonen in 2007. They have one daughter, Winnie Rose Fallon, born in 2013.
Seth Meyers: Married human rights lawyer Alexi Ashe in 2013. No kids.

Jimmy Fallon: Saugerties, NY
Seth Meyers: Manchester, New Hampshire

Alma Mater
Jimmy Fallon: College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY
Seth Meyers: Northwestern University in Evanston, IL

Social Media
Jimmy Fallon: 11.6 million personal Twitter followers / 785,000 Twitter followers for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon / 819, 850 personal Facebook likes / 1.5 million Facebook likes for Tonight Show / 1.2 million Instagram followers
Seth Meyers: 2.24 million personal Twitter followers / 62,900 Twitter followers for Late Night With Seth Meyers / 11,500 Facebook likes for community page / 92,000 Facebook likes for Late Night / 48,000 Instagram followers

Granted, both of these guys have spent their fair share of time behind SNL's Weekend Update desk, so both are pretty comfortable around a topical zinger or two. On one hand, Jimmy's had more experience delivering warm-up jokes in front of a late night curtain, but Meyers -- who in recent years has proven to be one of the most consistent Update anchors the show has ever seen -- is a force to be reckoned with. While Jimmy's nervous aloofness isn't without its charms, Meyers' delivery promises to prove refreshingly laser-guided.

There's little question that Jimmy really has the pull here. Despite the fact that his insistence on ingratiating his guests like a rosy-cheeked schoolboy can prove a little trying at times, all that ass-kissing isn't without its benefits. Not only does Fallon boast regulars like Justin Timberlake and Amy Poehler, all the buddy-buddying means he can convince virtually anyone on his couch to partake in virtually any ridiculous activity that pops into his head (the man got the President of the United States to "slow jam the news," for chrissake).

Musical Guests
Like Conan O'Brien before him, Jimmy Fallon has used his time as Late Night host to offer his stage to some of the most interesting and hot-button musical acts of the past few years. Not only can he wrangle big names like Bruce Springsteen and Gaga (who's dropping by tonight), up-and-coming acts (Odd Future) and big indie names (Deerhunter) have made Fallon the go-to guy for both comedy and music lovers alike. But in taking the reigns from Jay Leno, a host that was as popular as vanilla, it's unlikely that Jimmy will be able to take as many chances when it comes to hosting lesser-known but equally vital artists (you don't want to have to explain to your dad who RiFF RAFF is, do you?). While there's plenty of opportunity for more U2-caliber acts in the coming months, look to Meyers to continue the tradition of holding the torch for up-and-comers.

Meyers -- as an actor, writer and Update host -- knows his way around a memorable character, and we're sure to see both new and old when he takes over the Late Night desk. But it's been Fallon that's changed the late night game by making his sketches not only water-cooler buzzworthy, but also viral sensations. His meme-ification of late night television has proven a success, with bits ranging from glorified food fights to the infamous "History of Rap" racking up both views and clicks. Copying Fallon's YouTube-friendly style might backfire, so it's probably best if Meyers sticks to what he knows. That said: We loved Stefon. Really, truly did. But please, for the love of god, no more of him.

No lie, Meyers came in swinging with this one. Not only will his 8G Band be lead and curated by former SNL castmate Fred Armisen, the band also boasts members of Les Savy Fav and Girls Against Boys. But in the end, Jimmy's got The Legendary Roots Crew and, well, good luck topping them even on a bad day.

This is the "unknowable category" where things get really tricky. While it's hard to say that the idea of Tom Hanks performing slam poetry about Full House could be considered particularly innovative, you have to give Fallon credit for pushing late night in a more irreverent, subversive direction. Though his pre-taped serial sketches were frequently more "miss" than "hit," Fallon's Late Show was welcomingly unpredictable. So it's hard to say whether or not his quirks will translate with a more mainstream audience. Still, he might be better off than Meyers, who has been stuck within the rigid parameters of Weekend Update for so long, he might have trouble shaking the cobwebs. Still, he certainly has more freedom of the two, so this might be our chance to finally see Meyers' freak flag really fly. Meyers is probably in the more enviable position, but don't discount Fallon's energy and originality.

Overall advantage: Fallon

Viewing all articles
Browse latest Browse all 7783

Latest Images

Trending Articles

Latest Images