In Jimmy Fallon, The Golden Globes may have finally found their perfect TV host.
Like the Globes, Jimmy Fallon is a creature of NBC — the network that took him out of Saturday Night Live and gave him The Tonight Show, and that took the Globes out of their deservedly humble Los Angeles beginnings and turned them into a media behemoth. Like the Globes, Fallon has made his show a celebrity safe harbor, where stars know there’s a lot of fun to be had and little of consequence at risk. And like the Globes, Fallon is very good at being eager to please.
The big difference? Unlike the Globes, it's almost impossible not to like Fallon. Yes, he often seems to be trying awfully hard to be liked — but darned if he doesn’t succeed.
Between the nominated movies and TV shows and this year’s election, he certainly had plenty of material for a monologue — once he got past a technical problem that forced him to fill time while producers replaced a broken teleprompter. There were jokes about The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, delivered as a Chris Rock imitation. (“No one’s going to thank O.J.”) There were gentle jabs at Ben Affleck, Donald Trump, Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Vladimir Putin, with "gentle" being the operative word. If you loved the blistering attacks Ricky Gervais used to launch against the crowd and the Globes themselves — well, this was the polar opposite.
Before the monologue, though, came the now inevitable taped opening sketch, an amusing star-packed musical salute to La La Land that included a Stranger Things rap, Fallon singing about the room full of stars (“They’ve been getting drunk since 3”) and Fallon dancing with Justin Timberlake.
It was only a brief dance, of course, but that was also fitting, as the host of the Globes is only on briefly at the show’s opening. Ten minutes in, we were already off to the first award, and Fallon was off — returning after the first commercial break to repeat the introduction of Hugh Grant the announcer had just messed up.
And that's very like the Globes.