The last few years of late night TV have featured a whole lot of on-air goodbyes, including two each from Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien. But Jimmy Fallon’s final episode of Late Night, broadcast late Friday night after the Olympic opening ceremonies, may have done it best of all.
For his final moments in the 12:30 slot, Fallon sang the entirety of The Band’s “The Weight” with the Muppets. Which Muppets? All of them. It started with Dr. Teeth the Electric Mayhem, eventually working up to Bunson Honeydew and Beaker, Gonzo, Fozzie and- on the last verse- Kermit and Miss Piggy. Then, after the song, Fallon got up from the drum kit and walked down the hall to his new office at the Tonight Show:
Why was it perfect? Because it played to two of the best things about Fallon’s show- the musicality, and the constant sense of playfulness. Plus, it worked as a homage to “The Last Waltz.” And it had the Muppets. The Muppets make everything better, always.
I was never a Fallon fan in his SNL days; I always thought his giggling idiocy wasn’t funny but rather ruined lots of the best sketches. But the guy has undoubtedly matured as a performer, and he managed to built something great with his Late Night show. Absolute worst case scenario, he’ll be better than Leno.