Blow Your Pants Off
Jimmy Fallon didn’t translate well to movies and when I watched bits and pieces of his SNL tenure all I noticed was that he screwed up (and screwed around in) a lot of jokes. But then more times spent with his work, Greatest Hit-style, showed a decent comedic talent – a gifted mimic/impersonator and a sharp musical parodist; something that he has been able to run with on his Late Night show – and it certainly helps having The Roots on board to play along.
I’m not sure that this sort of comedy album (or any sort of comedy album – unless it has Louis CK’s name on the spine, maybe) will have any sort of legs in this day and age, comedy bits – even more so than pop-songs – seem to live (and die) via YouTube these days. And comedy-songs so often have the funny-once tag stamped on their backside.
There’s also the problem that so many of these performances – musical parodies from Jimmy’s show – have an obvious visual element. But I like that this CD exists. It’s something of a middle finger to the many who wrote Jimmy off as a guy who would simply laugh at it his own jokes. Four years into his show now he’s hitting his straps and he probably deserves some sort of Knighthood-style accolade simply for keeping The Roots going; given them an outlet, allowing them to keep being discovered by people. Allowing them to continue their evolution and exploration – and take a wage for their troubles too.
There are some great parody/impersonations here – his Neil Young is well known, his Bob Dylan singing the Charles in Charge theme has a near-perfect Dylan timing and inflection, not just the clothes-peg-over-the-nose bleat that any drunk can claim is convincing.
Kudos too for getting Sir Paul McCartney in on the joke to duet on “Scrambled Eggs”, the early (working-title) version of Yesterday – and Springsteen jumps in on the act later as well. Good stuff.
Still not convinced that anyone needs this or that I’ll continue listening to it – but I’ve given it more than one listen, so in some sense it’s already passed the comedy-record test. And I just like that it exits, I like where Jimmy (and his show) have been and where they are heading. And this is something of a signpost. A reminder to keep checking in, even if mostly via YouTube, to see (and hear) what’s next.