Fallon’s lack of confrontation amidst a campaign characterised by controversy and inflammation was most offensive. No stranger to TV appearances, Donald Trump appeared on Jimmy Fallon The Tonight Show a couple of weeks back. You can view part of his appearance here:
The media’s reception to these pleasantries was mixed to negative, either focusing on Trump’s hair while others saw the interview as Fallon pandering to Trump.
They complained about the Trump interview being ‘fluffy’.
Obviously they misunderstand the genre.
Fluff is the purpose for which late night talk shows exist.
What’s more, Fallon did what I’m sure late night show hosts (and daytime show hosts) have been wanting to do for years: To mess up that hair.
David Letterman went on about Trump’s hair for years, particularly when Trump was running The Apprentice. Letterman ran a regular “Trump or monkey” segment.
A photo of the top of a creature’s head was shown without revealing the entire face. The contestant had to guess whether it was Donald Trump or a monkey. Now, what could be fluffier than Donald Trump’s hair?
The thing is, Fallon did nothing out of the ordinary for his show or the genre. Trump is an highly divisive character and I’m sure Jimmy Fallon hosts all sorts of people with whom he disagrees privately. Fallon treated Trump pretty much the same as any of his other guests. But in the midst of the most inflammatory and controversial national election campaign Fallon’s lack of hostility was sensational. Were people seriously wanting, seriously expecting, hoping for a smashing from Fallon? If so, they don’t know Fallon. As Fallon said “Have you seen my show? I’m never too hard on anyone.”
When Hillary Clinton appeared on the show, it would have been easy for Fallon to bring up any number of controversies. Did anyone complain about Fallon’s failure to grill her over emails? Not a peep from any of the tech, culture and news sites I follow. But still he has on occasion joked about Hillary’s emails. Of course, Fallon himself has repeatedly impersonated Trump many times since the business magnate and TV celebrity announced his intention to run for POTUS. Fallon particularly plays up Trump’s narcissism. So to suggest Fallon is soft on Trump, is simply misinformed.
Nevertheless it is surprising, ironic even, that a lack of confrontation towards a light entertainment television guest could generate so much controversy.