A new show, new set, and new time slot — but the same, irrepressibly enthusiastic Jimmy Fallon.
The New York native began smiling and giggling his way up the NBC comedy ladder when he first joined “Saturday Night Live” in 1998, and 15 years later, the 39-year-old star displayed the same “aww shucks” enthusiasm as he opened his very first “Tonight Show.”
Fallon emerged onto his gigantic new stage at 30 Rock to massive applause from the New York audience, which was excited to call the show its own for the first time in over 40 years. He started with a little exchange with his parents, who sat in the crowd; introduced his band, The Roots, and announcer, Steve Higgins; and then perhaps in service to young viewers that traveled with him from “Late Night” up an hour to “Tonight,” Fallon gave a little lesson from Talk Show 101.
The host explained that, at the beginning of each show he would come out and tell jokes “based on what’s going on in the news,” and that he’d “make fun of everybody” so that you, the viewer at home, “can go to sleep with a smile on your face.”
Later, Fallon would be greeted by a slew of celebrities — from Robert De Niro to Lady Gaga and Tina Fey — and did an instantly viral “Evolution of Hip-Hop Dancing” routine with his first guest, Will Smith.