Fallon Files: Jimmy, Out of Ideas, Turns to ’80s Night

John Hughes is rolling in his grave

Todd Owyoung/NBC
He's a Maniac

Welcome to the Fallon Files, a weekly-ish series chronicling only the lowest lows of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.


Jimmy has run out of ideas. Well, that probably happened years ago, but it became even more apparent last night, when he decided that what the Tonight Show needed was a theme night, specifically an ’80s night. The man loves an opportunity to put on a wig and sing, so this was bound to happen at some point.

I’m actually surprised Jimmy and the Tonight Show producers haven’t pulled this out of their bag of tricks yet. Over the years, they’ve done plenty of ’80s-themed segments, including an ’80s aerobics dance challenge with Kate Upton, an ’80s R&B parody with Pharrell, and an ’80s dance line with The Roots (dance lines are more evocative of the ’70s in my estimation, but what’s done is done). Jimmy is obsessed with the ’80s, so you think he’d pull out the big guns for an entire show dedicated to the Reagan era.

And he did, sort of. His guests last night were Ralph Macchio, Jennifer Beals, and Lea Thompson, with a musical performance by Modern English. Other than that, he changed the curtain onstage to more closely resemble Johnny Carson’s and made The Roots wear ridiculous outfits. Jimmy wore a normal suit.

The three guests joined Jimmy in playing ’80s-themed charades, which resulted in one of the most boring games I’ve ever seen on the show. Charades is not a fun game to watch other people play under normal circumstances — the segment rarely works on a regular episode — but in this version the answers were too difficult and no one was particularly good at acting them out. (How are you supposed to act out A Christmas Story?) So this just devolved into us watching Jimmy and three people who were famous 40 years ago flail around.

Suffice to say, this theme night did not do it for me. Halloween is just around the corner, why not wait a few weeks to do an episode where Jimmy gets to wear a costume? At the very least, pick a theme that hasn’t been done to death by every public high school for spirit week over the last 20 years. But I know I’m asking for too much from Jimmy, which is why I will still be tuning in four months from now when the theme is inevitably Pajama Day.