Jimmy Fallon has had a rough time adjusting to the America following the 2016 election with Donald Trump as president. The Tonight Show host’s decision to mess around with Trump’s hair probably would’ve been a toss away moment during any other election year with any other candidate, but Trump had whipped up many into frenzy by that point and the battle lines had been drawn ahead of the vote. Fallon faced some severe criticism, almost as much as SNL for having Trump on to host, but his show seems to be suffering at a different level. The response apparently “devastated” Fallon, but it has also affected his ratings compared to his competition. Stephen Colbert can balance the fun pop culture moments with the political banter he perfected over at Comedy Central, Seth Meyers is creating the meaningful content that people seem to want Fallon to put out, and James Corden seems to be doing Fallon’s schtick at a different level at the moment.
It’s rough to be Fallon it would seem, something you get as you watch his chat with Willie Geist that will air on Sunday TODAY this weekend. As Entertainment Weekly points out, Fallon isn’t about to change his format to jump onto the anti-Trump train, mostly because he doesn’t think he can:
“It’s just not what I do, I think it would be weird for me to start doing it now,” Fallon said to Willie Geist in a preview from the upcoming broadcast. “I don’t even care about politics. I love pop culture more than politics, I just don’t have that brain.”
The Tonight Show host praises what other hosts are doing at the same, balancing it with how his show has handled president’s in the past and why that just doesn’t work with Trump:
“I think the other guys are doing it very well,” Fallon replied. “Colbert’s doing great; he’s always been into political comedy. When it’s organic I’ll dip into it as well. I’ve always made jokes about the president. We’ve only had Obama. I’ve made thousands of jokes … with Trump, it’s just like every day is a new thing. He gives a lot of material. A lot of [his] stuff is hard to make a joke about. It’s just too serious.”
While it is hard to deny that Fallon’s show isn’t where you go for the biting commentary, it also never has been that place. And even before he took it over, The Tonight Show was not a place where lofty statements were made. It’s built to be the fun close to the night while folks are falling to sleep, or at least it was. Now with online videos and viral moments holding sway, it would seem that the interest in Trump has hurt Fallon after he had a hold on what worked before.