Jimmy Fallon's Donald Trump Interview Made Everyone Go Batsh*t Crazy
On Thursday night, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump appeared on The Tonight Show to pal around with host Jimmy Fallon, as anyone with a movie to promote or a record to sell might. If this were any other candidate in any other election, the comedic flyby would have been just another Jimmy Fallon segment, dumped on to you YouTube the next morning for the curious or bored to discover.
But Trump isn't any other candidate, and this election isn't another election but a supercollider of claims and insults. Trump arrived at The Tonight Show riding a wave of controversy that includes (but is not limited to) accusations of mishandled charitable donations, pandering to white supremacists, provoking the Obama "birther" movement, disrespect toward multiple war heroes, fanning American Islamophobia, mischaracterizing the country's black communities, praising North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and swiping at his opponent Hillary Clinton with anti-Semitic and misogynistic dog-whistling. Objectively, Trump is a loaded subject. Fallon, being Fallon, used his time with the candidate to answer a burning question: does Trump wear a toupée?
Fallon veered into politics -- or opened the door for Trump to stump -- by breeching the subject of the candidate's relationship with Putin. "I don't know him, Trump said. "I know nothing about him, really. I just think if we got along with Russia is not a bad thing. I don't like him, I don't dislike him ... I'm [just] going to make great deals for our country." The crowd went wild.
Trump is already at the convergence of entertainment and politics, a reality TV entrepreneur whose outsider status undercut the seasoned Republican competition. His post-nomination Tonight Show appearance -- complete with The Apprentice mention -- only further blurred his showman role. But was it Fallon's responsibility to question, fact-check, and go hard on Trump in a setting known for lip-sync battles and egg Russian roulette? Or, if a serious interview was never in the cards, was it then irresponsible for the late-night host to entertain Trump during a delicate political moment? Pundits from every walk of life thought so, and David Simon, the creator of The Wire, had a few of the harshest words for the host.
Additional criticism of Fallon quickly erupted.
Jimmy Fallon is gonna ask Trump his favorite Saved by the Bell character and he'll be a tougher interviewer than Matt Lauer— Bobby Big Wheel (@BobbyBigWheel) September 16, 2016
In his defense, Jimmy Fallon just pulled in a 35 share among white supremacists 18-49.— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) September 16, 2016
Jimmy Fallon does a lot of great impressions but his Sean Hannity tonight was one of his best.— stuart stevens (@stuartpstevens) September 16, 2016
Fallon interviewing Hitler: "Let's talk about your book!"— Megan Amram (@meganamram) September 16, 2016
That memorable Jimmy Fallon episode where he and Pol Pot lip synced to Oops I Did It Again— (((Jeff Tiedrich))) (@jefftiedrich) September 16, 2016
Remember when the worst thing Jimmy Fallon ever did was laugh during a sketch?— Jensen Karp (@JensenClan88) September 16, 2016
I don't fault Jimmy Fallon for not being a journalist. I do fault him for his willingness to serve as hell's court jester.— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) September 16, 2016
Trump's supporters also burst through the commotion, finding more enjoyment in his critics' squirms than in any of Fallon's gags.
OBSERVATION: Trump's audience reaction on Dr. Oz & Fallon was VERY enthusiastic. The TIDE has TURNED. These people will VOTE for him.— slone (@slone) September 16, 2016
Trump on Jimmy Fallon proves the Trump Effect: The longer you are exposed to him, the more you learn to like him. Hillary -- exact opposite— Holly Hammersmith Ⓜ (@HollyAnswers) September 16, 2016
Then there were the observational devil's advocates, who didn't expect much from a Trump-Fallon late-night segment in the first place -- and wondered why anyone would.
Silly to be angry with Jimmy Fallon. He's a comic. The larger issue is the political power candidates/people give late night hosts.— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) September 16, 2016
I had no idea this many people previously respected Jimmy Fallon.— Jenny Trout (@Jenny_Trout) September 16, 2016
Finally, there were the people looking ahead to Miley Cyrus' Friday Tonight Show appearance. Never change, MileySourceNews. Never change.
Don't miss Miley on Jimmy Fallon tonight! She will talk about music + another surprises! 😍— Miley Cyrus Source (@MileySourceNews) September 16, 2016
Will Fallon take the criticism to heart? We'll find out this coming Monday, when Hillary Clinton makes her pre-debates Tonight Show appearance. In the meantime, here's Norm Macdonald, who should actually run for president.
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