I want to love my job as much as Jimmy Fallon loves his. From the very first chord of music by The Roots to the spring in his bounding step across the stage, Jimmy projects joy and excitement for what he gets to do next. It doesn’t matter whether the excitement comes from the name or prestige of his guests or the show’s latest goofy game, Fallon brings the energy of a teenager topped off with wise good humor. What’s not to love?
At the beginning of the year, I wasn’t too sure about the shift from Jay to Jimmy. After all, Jay had been the guy who entertained and accompanied me through the late nights of most of my parenting life to that point. He provided a much-needed humorous perspective when the current affairs of the era weren’t so funny. Profound political stalemates that ensured nothing is accomplished for this country’s future? “Mission accomplished” for a couple of wars whose missions remain unclear? Largest depressing recession in our lifetime? Jay got me through all of those with his somewhat sardonic perspective on human behavior.
I was used to him. He was comfortable. He was predictable and I really loved his Jay Walking segment as it answered the “why” behind so many of the unfunny issues of our times. So as his tenure ticked away, and we moved towards the end of the show itself in LA, I was sad.
Would Jimmy prove to be another Conan, a comedian whose humor leaves me cold? In other words, would I get Jimmy’s humor? More importantly, would he provide much-needed relief from the serious issues of our times in a way that was meaningful to my demographic?
After all, my demographic is tough.
For nearly fifty years, the entire U.S. economy has been geared to our every desire, anticipating our interests, and ensuring we know that the products and services of our consumer society have been developed, designed, indeed created to fulfill our every need whether we knew that was our desire or not. My demographic is at the top of the bell curve of the Baby Boom – that big bolus of Americans that has defined much of our culture for a long time. This major shift in nighttime television, made it appear we no longer ruled.
And now I know that there is no need to worry any more. Jimmy is perfect with The Tonight Show franchise. It’s not that his humor is better or that his writers are stronger or that his guests are more attractive. No. What’s perfect about Jimmy is that he loves what he’s doing so much that it oozes out of the screen. His sheer joy at talking with people, asking questions, hearing their answers is something I can feel and see. And there’s nothing my demographic needs more than someone who loves his work as much as Jimmy does.
We are, after all, the generation who will never retire. We don’t want to. We would be bored and many of us have been lucky enough to do meaningful work that doesn’t require hard physical labor, so why retire? But not all of us have the level of sheer joy demonstrated by Jimmy in his daily job. We want that, though.
So I will watch Jimmy Fallon and try to learn from his projected happiness. So far, I’ve learned that I need a theme song to welcome me to my computer each morning. Suggestions?