'Late Night with Jimmy Fallon' ends on a shaky, emotion note

Andy Samberg and Jimmy Fallon in the final episode of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. (Handout)

Andy Samberg and Jimmy Fallon in the final episode of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. (Handout)

Bill Harris, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:19 AM ET

Jimmy Fallon was a little mumbly and stumbly.

The final episode of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, which aired early Saturday morning on NBC and CTV, saw the host somewhat shaky with emotion. Perhaps the enormity of what's occurring finally caught up with him, as he's set to take over The Tonight Show, starting Feb. 17 on NBC and CTV Two.

The night began with Fallon playing guitar and singing On a Night Like This, with Buckwheat Zydeco and the Roots.

In his monologue, Fallon tried to quiet the extended standing ovation he received by saying, “I don't deserve it, the show's not that good.”

Then he added, “I'm really going to miss being on TV at 12:37 (a.m.). I'll especially miss the battle for late-night ratings with my fierce rivals Craig Ferguson and the Veggie-Chopper infomercial.”

As for topical humour, Fallon quipped, “Tonight also was the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in Sochi. There was a massive fireworks display. But that was just when someone tried to plug in a hair-dryer at the hotel.”

When he sat down at his desk, Fallon thanked his house band, the Roots, and teared up as he said, “I'm not going to cry, but I'm getting really close. Because we're not going anywhere. We're doing The Tonight Show. In 10 days I'm going to go across the hall there, it's really close, and we're going to do The Tonight Show, we're bringing it back to New York City.”

In a classy move, Fallon remembered his predecessors on Late Night.

“I have to thank David Letterman and Paul Shaffer for starting this show, without them I wouldn't have this job,” Fallon said. “Conan O'Brien, Max Weinberg, Andy Richter, those guys were awesome, thanks for keeping this awesome. Seth Meyers is taking over Late Night (Feb. 24 on NBC and CTV), and I love the guy. I want to support him and we're going to be a good team back-to-back.”

The rest of the show, to be honest, was ragged.

A pre-taped bit in which Fallon received advice from famous people fell flat.

Same thing for Fallon's “thank-you notes” routine.

Fallon's last guest was Andy Samberg. There's genuine affection between them, as Fallon recommended Samberg to Lorne Michaels, who subsequently hired Samberg on Saturday Night Live. But on this night their interaction was forced. Samberg even told Fallon, “You gotta pull it together, man.” Fallon replied, “I gotta man up. I'm just an Irish mush.”

Announcer Steve Higgins then had so many nice things to say about Fallon, it looked as if Fallon really was going to lose it. But he managed to hold it together, barely.

Fallon then sat in on drums with the Muppets to sing The Weight. At the end of it, Fallon got up, walked down the hall, and passed through a studio door with a sign that said, “The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon,” where all his friends were waiting for him and cheering.

That walk down the hall was a nice touch, representing both an ending and a beginning.

Jimmy Fallon always comes across as a genuinely nice guy. But given how endearingly rattled he was in his final Late Night show, it makes me even more curious to see how he handles things a week from Monday.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

 


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