There might be something better on the Internet today than Billy Joel and Jimmy Fallon singing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” but I’m not sure what it could be.
I’m a longtime fan of Billy Joel, and he was the latest guest to bring out my favorite thing about Jimmy on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, which is his unabashed willingness to go all-out fanboy with his celebrity guests. It’s always been his most charming quality, in my opinion, but it’s really at its best now. He can hang out with anyone and find common ground. Case in point: his conversation with Lena Dunham the other night was just fun. I’m not a Girls-watcher even, but I got a kick out of watching them kick back and talk about movies and how her mom thinks she can marry him if she ever breaks up with her boyfriend. (Might want to warn Jimmy’s wife about that plan.) Watching him behind the Tonight Show desk, I get the feeling that I get to go to work with a guy who’s sitting there doing his dream job and still can’t quite believe his luck.
It’s a good feeling — for him, and, as it turns out, for the audience.
I’m tickled, too, by Fallon’s own musical talent. He’s not a vocal or an instrumental genius, but he’s talented at both, and it’s obvious that he’s an improv pro who shines when he’s highlighting the gifts of his famous friends. This has been proven over and over again in his work with Justin Timberlake and his years of other Saturday Night Live and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon guests, and it continues on his new show. His ability to create a simple song loop on his iPad for “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” that Billy Joel could join in on and harmonize was the basis for some musical excellence.
It was pure fun to watch, and it looked like it was fun for Billy, too. I had gotten a little jaded about late-night television, which was sad for a night owl, so it’s a nice perk that Jimmy Fallon has made me look forward to who or what might pop up from night to night on The Tonight Show. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to sing “A-wimoweh a-wimoweh a-wimoweh a-wimoweh” on a loop for the next week.
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