Welcome to 11:30.
Jimmy Fallon took over “The Tonight Show” Monday, complete with a star-studded cameo segment, “The Evolution of Hip-Hop Dancing” routine with Will Smith, a heartfelt opening monologue—and U2 performing “Invisible” on the roof of 30 Rockefeller Plaza with a breathtaking view of the New York skyline.
Fallon kicked off his first episode thanking all the “Tonight Show” hosts that came before him, including “Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, and … Jay Leno.” He launched into a sincere monologue about himself, saying “I just want to do the best I can and take care of this show for a while and if you guys let me stick around long enough, maybe I’ll get the hang of it.”
Fallon brought his “Superlatives” segment from “Late Night,” this time focusing on the Olympics. When he announced that his “buddy” owed him $100 for saying Fallon would never make it to The Tonight Show, his first 2009 “Late Night” guest Robert DeNiro came onstage and forked over the $100. Fallon certainly came out the night richer (if the money was real, that is) as celebrities including Tina Fey, Kim Kardashian, Lindsay Lohan, Joe Namath, Lady Gaga, and Rudy Giuliani all then handed over $100 as well.
The last to come out was Stephen Colbert, who dumped a bucket of change on Fallon, took a selfie (which has unfairly not shown up on Twitter yet) and declared “Welcome to 11:30 [expletive].”
Then came U2 with an almost unreal view of New York behind them (clearly they filmed ahead of Tuesday’s soul-crushing snow), just to remind everyone how lucky we are that he’s returning “The Tonight Show” to New York after 42 years. And to top it all off, guest Will Smith and Fallon gave a viral-ready clip of “The Evolution of Hip Hop Dancing.”
His debut show was one of the trending topics on Twitter by Tuesday morning—and Seth Meyers should be giving him a thank-you call for the lead-in when his show premieres next week.