Follow TV Tropes


Series / The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Go To

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon is an American late-night talk show hosted by Jimmy Fallon, on NBC. The show premiered on February 17, 2014. It is the seventh incarnation of NBC's long-running Tonight Show franchise, with Fallon serving as the sixth host. The show records from Studio 6B in Rockefeller Center, New York City, where The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson was filmed until 1972.

The program airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. ET/PT. The show opens with Fallon's topical monologue, then transitions into comedic sketches/games, concluding with a guest interview and musical performance.

Tonight, joining Jimmy as guests: The tropes! And featuring the legendary house band Roots!

    open/close all folders 

  • AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle: Jimmy's made a Running Gag out of pronouncing the word "controversy" as "con-TRO-ver-sy" instead of the expected "CON-tro-ver-sy". While this is the legitimate pronunciation of the word across the pond, it always gets chuckles from the American audience.
  • Adam Westing: The local NBC news anchors play themselves for "I've Got Good News and Good News".
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Sara's stepdad Gary in "Ew!"
  • Anti-Humor: Demonstrated in one edition of "Kid Letters"; one kid sent in some jokes:
    "Q: If you go to the ham contest wat (sic) will the man say; A: you won last year you are not alowed. (sic)"
    "Q: What do you call a dinosaur with no eyes?; A: shut up"
    "Q: What do you call a tiger with glasses on?; A: A scientist tiger"
    "Q: gess (sic) how many snakes there are; A: 13"
  • Anvil on Head: Or rather, anvil on crotch. A pratfall (along with a random dog that bites his crotch) that frequently occurs to Patrick the writer.
  • Barbershop Quartets Are Funny: The Ragtime Gals skits, which include covers for several Intercourse with You songs. Sometimes, they even have more than four people singing.
  • Beware of Vicious Dog: Patrick the writer is always mauled by a stray dog. Often lampshaded by Fallon, who is confused why there are random dogs wandering the studio.
  • Big Applesauce: Production of the show returned to New York when Fallon took over.
  • Blatant Lies: The premise of "Box of Lies", where the object is to trick the other player about the contents of a box.
  • Broken Record: In the 11/14/15 episode, Jimmy played a clip of Donald Trump commenting on a story from Ben Carson's past about his friend's belt buckle saving him from a stabbing attack. In the clip, Trump raised and lowered his own belt buckle to illustrate why he thought it was a ludicrous story. Cut back to Jimmy, who, in Trump impression mode, said "This way, that way" over and over, eventually causing the band to join in.
  • The Bus Came Back: After being banned from Tonight since falling out with Johnny Carson nearly 30 years earlier, Joan Rivers finally reappeared on Fallon's first episode.
  • Butt-Monkey: Chris Christie. If the New Jersey governor's name comes up at some point during the show, you can bet Jimmy will make the obvious fat joke every single time. Even to Christie's face.
  • Call-Back:
    • In one monologue, Jimmy discussed Rob Ford, and he and Steve came up with the joke "Want some crack with that?" Later, during #Hashtags, Steve pretended to call Jimmy on an imaginary cell phone and asked him, "Want some crack with that?"
    • Steve and Jimmy do this a lot with whatever Inherently Funny Words come up during the monologue or the pre-guest sketches such as Hashtags.
  • The Cameo: During his first episode as host, Fallon thanked all the people who'd supported him, then said, "To my buddy who said that I'd never be the host of the Tonight Show — and you know who you are — you owe me a hundred bucks, buddy." Then began a parade of people coming onstage and walking up to Fallon's desk to hand him a $100 bill, including Robert De Niro, Tina Fey, Joe Namath, Rudy Giuliani (who thanked Fallon for returning the show to NYC), Mariah Carey, Tracy Morgan, Joan Rivers, Kim Kardashian, Seth Rogen, Lindsay Lohan, Sarah Jessica Parker, Mike Tyson (who also gives him a gift certificate for an Indian restaurant), Lady Gaga, and finally Stephen Colbert (the heir-apparent to David Letterman on CBS when he retires from the Late Show in 2015)...who dumped a bucket of pennies on the desk and down Fallon's shirt before shouting, "Welcome to 11:30, bitch!" in his face. (Watch the whole thing here.)
  • Catchphrase:
    • Fallon almost always opens his monologue with: "Here's what everyone's talking about..." or a variant.
    • "Hashtags" always features Fallon mentioning that this week's Twitter discussion became a "world-wide trending topic" (or, if a topic isn't as universal, it will be a "trending topic in the U.S."). He also always asks the audience, "You guys are on Twitter, right?" (audience cheers)
    • Steve Higgins frequently says "Come on!" (as in "Come on, how awesome is that?") when Jimmy announces one of the guests.
    • Fallon frequently says "Hot crowd!" and/or "I feel the love!" during audience cheers/applause at the top of the show.
    • At the start of "Thank You Notes", Jimmy says a variant of this: "Guys, today's Friday, that's usually when I catch up on some personal stuff. I check my emails, I return some calls, and I make thank-you notes. I'm running a little behind today, I was wondering if I could write my thank-you notes right now." Then he asks, "James, can I get some thank-you note writing music, please?"
    • "It's time to look at the stories making headlines today and weigh the good with the bad. It's time for "Pros and Cons", here we go."
    • "As you know, we're always looking for ways to make The Tonight Show better. Harder. Better. Faster. Stronger."
    • Gary, in "Ew!": "Catch you on the flippity-flop!"
  • Cliffhanger: Parodied in one "Thank You Notes":
    Jimmy: Thank you, cliffhangers, for... [looks up and freezes in place]
  • Cluster Bleep-Bomb: When Jimmy fires Rose the Camerawoman, Rose leaves while cursing up a storm, all censored of course.
  • Couch Gag: Towards the end of the opening theme song, The Roots will shout which episode number it is. When the episodes started numbering 200+, Questlove started referencing U.S. area codes (for telephone dialing), such as shouting "216 Cleveland!" for episode #216. Occasionally overshadowed by other things, such as Questlove shouting "Nanu Nanu!" in lieu of the episode number after Robin Williams' death (a reference to Williams' breakout role in Mork & Mindy)
  • Description Porn: The gag of "The Big Question", where Arthur sets up a really simple question like "Wassup?" with an overly long set-up. One example, about Groundhog Day.
  • Dramatic Unmask: Hashtag the Panda unmasked in a June 2014 episode. Turns out it was Ben Stiller all along.
  • Drone of Dread:
    • An ominous held note is heard in "Water War" and "Box of Lies".
    • Occasionally in the monologue, if Jimmy is smiling about something, his expression will slowly turn to severely unhappy while an ominous drone plays in the background. And then he snaps out of it like nothing happened.

  • Ear Worm: Jimmy couldn't stop singing "Too Much Time on My Hands" by Styx during the last week of shows in April 2016.
  • Flipping the Bird: When Jimmy fired Rose the camerawoman, she repeatedly flipped him off when leaving.
  • Gargle Blaster: A possible outcome of the "Drinko" game, which is based on "Plinko" from The Price Is Right, but which requires contestants to drink a cocktail of whatever two beverages the chips fall into. The potential combinations aren't dangerous, but they can certainly be disgusting, considering that the lineup typically includes several alcoholic beverages alongside things like pickle juice or gravy.
  • Get Out!:
    • Shouted repeatedly when Jimmy fired Rose the camerawoman.
    • In "Ew!", Sara shouts this at her stepdad Gary after he thoroughly embarrasses her.
  • Good News, Bad News: "Pros and Cons". Inverted with "I've Got Good News and Good News"
  • Happy Birthday to You!: Due to the announcement that "Happy Birthday to You" was finally put in public domain, The Roots took full advantage on 9/23/15 by playing the song numerous times in the show, including Jimmy's walk to the desk and going to/coming back from commercials.
  • Helium Speech: Jimmy sucked some helium with several of his guests to talk like this, including Morgan Freeman and Alan Rickman.
  • Homemade Sweater from Hell: 12 Days of Christmas Sweaters.
  • Hurricane of Puns: This tends to happen whenever Jimmy makes a pun, Steve pipes up with one of his own, and the two go completely off-script trying to out-pun each other. These are frequently of the biological and/or scatological variety.
  • Identical Stranger: A Running Gag on "Screengrabs" is how viewers point out an actor in an old movie that looks a lot like Jimmy Fallon, and a side-by-side comparison naturally follows. It's both hilarious and kinda creepy just how many of them there are.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: Arthur Meyer's shtick:
    "Yeah no yeah no yeah no yeah no yeah no yeah."
  • Inner Monologue: An occasional monologue gag involves Jimmy talking about a subject that bores one of the Roots band members because they don't understand it; when Jimmy asks the band member what they think, they start talking about it, and Jimmy has his own inner monologue where he's concerned how much smarter the band member is than he.
  • Innocent Innuendo: A common gag in "Pictionary": The drawer will accidentally draw something phallic, prompting audience laughter and The Roots playing porn music. A particularly good one occurred in the 9/2/16 episode, when Jimmy tried to draw a phone but he and the audience took it to look like a penis.
  • In the Style of: "Wheel of Musical Impressions". More often than not, Chewing the Scenery will be involved - specially if the guest is already a Large Ham to begin with (i.e. Jamie Foxx, Christina Aguilera and Celine Dion).
  • Kayfabe: When Jimmy and a guest do a skit, they like to pretend they're those characters. It was not broken until Mario Batali mentioned offhandedly.

  • Last-Name Basis: In one "Kid Letters", one letter began, "Dear Fallon..."
    Jimmy: Sounds like my bully from high school, yeah.
  • Losing Horns: Played in "Pictionary" when the players fail to guess correctly.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Vince Vaughn accused Jimmy of being this on the 2/18/16 episode. The interview started out normally but when Jimmy began to gush about a recent role of his, Vince interrupted and said he was catching onto Jimmy's game: He was convinced Jimmy was being nice to him so that he'd let his guard down and reveal his "tell" so he could beat Vince in Box of Lies. Vince even went so far as to say the whole show was about beating him in Box of Lies.
    Vince: I think I got an idea of what you're doing here. It's starting to make me uncomfortable.
    Jimmy: What are you talking about?
    Vince: Well, I'm not gonna lie to you; it feels good to have those high beams on me, and saying all these nice things. As a plant, I love that energy, it makes me wanna grow strong and tall... (Jimmy laughs) ...but I also know that there's a game called "Box of Lies" that's coming later. And I think what you're doing is, you're poking the big guy with some soft stuff, 'cause your mind is gettin' intel: "Do the eyes go left, do they go right?" And I see how you do it. You have an almost undefeated record at "Box of Lies". (...) You're nearly an undefeated champion, so you're giving me the niceties, 'cause really, you're a sick man who's tracking me. You are!
    Jimmy: Unbelivable.
    Vince: And by the way, as a gamer, I love it. No, I love that you would go to that depth, but these people get what's going on. It's uncomfortable.
    Jimmy: No, no, it's, I want to play a game-
    Vince: I didn't even know I was playing "Box of Lies", but we're playing- this whole thing is about "Box of Lies"!
    Jimmy: No, no, I'm not playing now!
    Vince: It is. Drew Carey was about "Box of Lies". You brought Kareem out.
    Jimmy: That was not-
    Vince: You had a camera on me back there, how did I react to Kareem? You've really got, like, your poker read on me.
    Jimmy: Let's talk about these things that you're doing, 'cause I want to mention these things-
    Vince: Why? So you can nail me in "Box of Lies"? (winks at camera)
  • Mic Drop: Barack Obama did this at the end of "Slow Jam the News".
  • Mirror Monologue: Done in the occasional sketch "Interviews Himself in the Mirror", where the special guest is on one side and Fallon, dressed as the guest, is on the other side.
  • Mondegreen Gag: invoked
    • In one of the #Hashtags segments about worst fights, one poster said they once had an argument with their girlfriend because she thought the slogan for Little Caesar's was "Eat some pizza". note 
    • In the 5/21/15 episode, the #Hashtags topic was "misheard lyrics".
    • When Jimmy interviewed Brian Williams in 2014, Jimmy and The Roots misheard "second deck" as "suckin' dick", largely because Brian didn't enunciate.
  • Mood Whiplash: Occurred during one of the songs featured in "Do Not Play". The rap song started out normal, with the singer talking about a childhood friend. Then the song takes a sharp left turn with these lyrics: "But anyway he left for summer and then he came back. / But something was different: He was hooked on crack." Lampshaded by Jimmy and Steve.
  • Newscaster Cameo: Has local NBC anchors submit parody videos of themselves doing (fictional) good news for "I've Got Good News and Good News."
  • Non-Indicative Name: One bit in a February 2017 monologue had Donald Trump giving a tour of the White House. When the China Room was shown, he said the plates reminded him of a Barenaked Ladies song, "which were neither bare-naked or ladies. Fake news."
  • No Theme Tune: The episode that aired after the tragic events in Charlottesville had no intro sequence for obvious reasons. The same went for the episode after the Las Vegas shooting.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: Before every "Do Not Play", Jimmy has to mention that the bands featured are real. Questlove doesn't believe him regardless.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Done deliberately by Steve Higgins for comedy during "Good Name, Bad Name, Great Name": Steve won't understand the concept of the sketch, and even after Jimmy shows multiple examples, he's still unclear and needs more examples to get it.
  • Obligatory Joke: When the subject of sailboats came up, Jimmy told guest Morgan Freeman that he'd love to take a boat ride with him, because then he could call him "Captain Morgan".
  • Overly-Long Gag:
    • Whenever Fallon and co-host Steve Higgins banter back and forth during a comedy bit, sometimes to the point of completely derailing the current joke Jimmy is trying to tell because one of them thought of another pun to add to their banter on the previous one.
    • The above-mentioned "You owe me a hundred bucks, buddy" scene.
    • Seeing how long The Roots can keep Hashtag the Panda dancing (by repeating his theme music over and over) is definitely this.
  • Precious Puppies: A sketch introduced on the 9/17/15 episode was called "Pup Quiz", with the gimmick that every time a contestant got a question correct, they were given a golden retriever puppy. Puppies are also used in the recurring "Puppy Predictors" sketch, involving puppies predicting the outcome of major upcoming sporting events such as the Super Bowl, NCAA March Madness, World Series, and Kentucky Derby, as well as upcoming presidential and midterm elections; prediction criteria varies: normally, there are 2-4 bowls of kibble representing either one of the teams that made the finals, or an election candidate, and the bowl that gets more puppies all over it, that is who will win; for the Kentucky Derby, each puppy represents a horse entered into the race, and the first to reach a trough full of kibble is the horse they predict will win. More often than not, the puppies are actually right, having predicted the Broncos would win Super Bowl XLVII, for example.
  • Pretentious Pronunciation: A running gag is when Fallon pronounces "controversy" as "con-trah-versy", and defends it by saying the show airs in England.
  • Product Placement:
    • A sly one. Fallon has expressed a desire to get a truck, and on the 3/31/14 episode, he finally announced that he would be buying a Ford F-150. Guess what one of the sponsors for the show is? Ford.
    • The various items that were given away to the audience during the "12 Days of Christmas" certainly counts as a plug.
  • Raging Stiffie: In the 6/8/15 "Screengrabs", a doctor's name was "Dr. Richard D. Stiff". Naturally, this led Jimmy and Steve to exchange penis puns.
  • Rearrange the Song: On the 10/31/14 episode, The Roots did a cover of the Halloween theme music, and adding rap lyrics to it.
  • Reunion Show: An occasional special event:
    • In the week of L.A. shows, Fallon participated in a sketch featuring most of the original cast of Saved by the Bell.
    • On the 9/23/15 episode, Fallon teamed up with Kel Mitchell to work at Good Burger, with frequent collaborator Kenan Thompson as a customer.
    • On the 2/16/16 episode, Donald Trump (Fallon) has anxiety about his presidential campaign. He's given advice by the cast of Fuller House, which contained many of the same cast members as its first series, Full House.
  • Running Gag:
    • Fallon and Higgins saying "DVD!" in a jock tone.
    • If there's a musical guest, Fallon will play a brief snippet of the song they're going to perform on his laptop and then stop it, saying that the audience has to wait until the end of the show to hear the rest.
    • Steve Higgins "retiring" after a joke.
    • Champagne James. *airhorn*note 

  • Screamer Prank: One was in a fake Bernie Sanders ad; after pleasant imagery, a demonic Hillary Clinton popped up and screamed.
  • Shameless Self-Promoter: Whenever the subject of books comes up, Jimmy will inevitably plug his children's book, "Dada".
  • Sore Loser: On the 11/21/14 episode, Michael Cera whupped Jimmy in both Mario Kart (played before the show) and Catch Phrase. When it came time for the interview, Jimmy started out trying to be congenial, but eventually he "snapped" and lashed out at Michael for beating him twice.
  • Spin-Off: In 2017, Universal Studios Florida opened up a simulator ride based off of Jimmy's tenure of the show (while also containing references to past hosts) called Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon.
  • Song Parody: Fallon and Kevin Bacon occasionally do a sketch called "First Drafts of Rock", which feature them performing "lost" early versions of classic rock songs with ridiculous lyrics. Such as "Legs" for example, which went on about other body parts.
    She's got thumbs!
    She uses them to text me!
    What is "texting"?
    It's 1983!
  • Stalker with a Crush: One "Hashtags" featured the subject of "Why I'm Single". One of the submissions was "One time I told a girl she was beautiful, and after she responded with thank you, I said, "Yeah I've been watching you a lot."" Then Jimmy gave a creepy stare into the camera while a Drone of Dread played.
    • Arthur Meyer, who keeps wanting to move in with Jimmy.
  • Stealth Pun: Listen closely to the songs that The Roots play when a guest is introduced. The lyrics are often slightly tweaked to make a pun on the celebrity's name, current project, or something else they're known for.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: In the "Ew!" sketch with Demi Lovato:
    Gary: First, you put 'em [fishsticks] in the oven for a little while, / then you take 'em out and eat 'em and they make you smile! / A crunch, crunch, crunch, and a yum, yum, yum / Eatin' fishsticks is so much pleasure!
  • Tag Team: In one of the L.A. shows in 2016, Jimmy pretended to be injured after a monologue joke, and asked someone off-camera if they'd stand in for him. That person turned out to be Jay Leno, who did about four minutes of monologue jokes before tagging Jimmy back in. This seems like it will be a regular thing whenever Leno is a guest, as it happened again on the 6/15/16 and 10/31/16 episodes.
  • Take That!: When NBC anchor Brian Williams was a guest, he delivered quite a few good-natured take thats to Fallon, mostly claiming that his newscast is supporting Fallon's show and that he's doing something that actually matters.
  • That Liar Lies: "You lie!" is often shouted during "Box of Lies".
  • That's What She Said: A Running Gag in many 2015 episodes after a suggestive line; Jimmy will throw to a clip of Jeb Bush saying, "That's what she said."note 
  • Time Passes Montage: A gag in the monologue for one of the Orlando Studios episodes: Jimmy showed a time lapse video of the creation of the Tonight Show ride on the lot; he noticed something odd so he replayed it and discovered that James was standing still for THREE YEARS while the ride was being built.
  • Toilet-Drinking Dog Gag: In 2015, Fallon shared a story about Wichita Falls Texas, which was having to recycle toilet water because of just how bad the 2011-2015 drought in the area had gotten. He followed it up with "Dogs everywhere have reacted to the news by asking 'You guys are just figuring this out now!?'"
  • Toilet Humour: Much mirth has been made over Academy president Cheryl Boone mispronouncing Dick Pope's name as "Dick Poop": Both Jimmy and Steve listed parodies of real movies as other projects Dick Pope has worked on, all with feces-based names.
  • Trrrilling Rrrs: Steve exaggerates his trilling for comic effect as moderator in "Egg Russian Roulette".
  • Variety Show: He's expressed interest in having more guests give performances as opposed to simply plugging their latest project.
  • Voice Clip Song: A recurring segment on the show (carried over from Late Night) has clips of NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams edited together to make him seem like he's rapping a famous song. Examples have included "Gin & Juice", "Rapper's Delight", and "Baby Got Back"!
  • With Lyrics: On the 10/31/14 episode, The Roots did a cover of the Halloween theme music, and adding rap lyrics to it.


We Didnt Start the MCU

The Avengers give a history of the MCU to Billy Joel's classic.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (17 votes)

Example of:

Main / WeDidntStartTheBillyJoelParodies

Media sources: