Jimmy Fallon hasn’t had the best last six months. Ever since he tousled Donald Trump’s hair, it seems nothing has really gone right and ratings for The Tonight Show have fallen. (Apparently tousling Donald Trump’s hair is basically the monkey’s paw of human hair.) The hair incident hurt him, but the larger truth is in the political climate we live in today, his brand of “fun and games” comedy hasn’t translated well. It’s become the norm to pick on Fallon, to the point I’m starting to feel bad for him. Fallon is a performer who loves to entertain and, lately, he’s had a demeanor that just seems so bummed out that people are resisting. So I do think Fallon came into this week’s Saturday Night Live wanting to prove something.
On Saturday night I attended dress rehearsal. I’ve been to a few SNLs and this one had the most palpable energy. Granted, this isn’t the biggest sample size and, another “granted,” there were a lot of teenage girls there wanting to see Harry Styles. My hearing still hasn’t quite recovered from the group of teens behind me screaming at the top of their lungs. But it did feel like more of an event than it usually does anyway. Then add that to the fact this was the first time SNL has been aired live from coast to coast. (Full admission, once Bruce Chandling came out during “Weekend Update,” I became a screaming teen. Also, it’s a shame the audience at home can’t see Colin Jost off camera dying laughing at every word from Bruce Chandling.)
Also, Harry Styles obviously wanted to come into this SNL and have his Justin Timberlake moment. He was in so many sketches. (He was in another one that was cut after dress.) And he was pretty good! Though, some of the self-referential jokes were cringe inducing. The “going solo” jokes in the “Celebrity Jeopardy” sketch made me grimace. But, regardless, it was a big night for Styles.