No, Jimmy Fallon is not the greatest comedic performer late-night television has ever produced. But he has the greatest mind for comedic variety of his time and vast resources for bringing his and his creative collaborators' visions to life. If he wanted to write an episode of The Tonight Show into a remake of an episode of the 1980s Lyle Alzado pro wrestling sitcom Learning The Ropes -- complete with The Refused reuniting to play the theme song -- he could make it happen. He realizes it isn't about his own talent, but his ability to funnel the talent around him into a format that people will not only watch, but pass on to their friends.
He may never have his version of the Top 10 List or have to take to the road to perform a comedy show when the Tonight Show is taken away from him, but he'll be late-night television's great cultural aggregator and give a new generation the opportunity to watch him work on any screen it wishes. He doesn't need to be the star, just the starmaker.
-- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore.
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