Saturday, February 11, 2017

Colbert and Fallon, are the tables turning?

With the election of Donald Trump, the world feels changed.  Even late night television is different. The two leaders of late night television shows, Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert, may be changing places.  Fallon, on NBC, was by far the most popular in the last few years as he followed up on Jay Leno's reign.  He is a prodigious talent and his performances, imitations, dancing, singing, facial expressions, and quips reflect his skills and humor. Colbert is more restrained, for the most part, but an eager performer with a thoughtful side to his humor.  He is cutting when he chooses to be and at times he does choose.

Since the election, Colbert has been the one who is more precise in his comments on the election and Trump, and his humor has an edge that is purposeful but still packs a humorous punch.  For many, that is what is needed.  In a way that is a completely exaggerated comment on the two of them, hypothetically speaking, Colbert plays Lenny Bruce to Fallon's Milton Berle.  That comment is admittedly a stretch, but directionally speaking it speaks to Fallon's challenge.  He is a hard charging, hard partying, fun guy, while Colbert is more controlled and incisive.

It may be Colbert's time now for many viewers.  The opening of the program last night had a cartoon with Bannie putting Donnie to bed, reassuring Donnie that he could sleep well because everyone really did like him.  It was unexpected and perfect, not preachy or mean, just making fun of the way things really seem to be.  For those who have the misfortune to be up and watching television at that hour, try Colbert if you haven't done so recently.

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