Saturday, 20 April 2013

The History of Rap

Today I learned that I really do like Jimmy Fallon.

I don't watch much US television. Although there are individual shows that I love to bits (West Wing, 30 Rock, Mad Men, just off the top of my head), and plenty of others that I'll happily sit through, I still don't know my way around the vast landscape of channels, networks and suppliers. To me, calibrated from my earliest years by the beautiful monolith of the BBC, US telly is a big ol' confusing mess. Watching a programme live, in real time, hardly ever happens.

But occasionally I do catch something by chance, and that thing is usually late night comedy chat shows. Partly I'm drawn to it because I can appreciate the lineage: whether it's Leno or Letterman,  this is a tradition that reaches back through Johnny Carson into the bedrock of American TV - to me, raised on Blue Peter, Doctor Who, Panorama and Match of the Day, this is a good thing. But partly, it's because at a certain time of day these shows become ubiquitous.

There are countless iterations of these shows, all sharing the same format, differentiated only by the presenter, the band and some minor tweaks. But as I've dipped in and out - the most casual of viewers - I've slowly come to realise that Jimmy Fallon is the best of them all. He's funny and likeable, luminescent with energy, and his rapport with his guests feels winningly genuine. Best of all, his show is ridiculously, joyously silly.  

This is from last night's show (albeit a repeat from March):

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