Fallon vs. Kimmel: Which Jimmy late-night show is better?
- Jimmy Fallon is an Emmy-award-winning entertainer known for his work on Saturday Night Live from 1998-2004 and current host of NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon since 2014.
- The Tonight Show is NBC’s long-running variety show airing since 1954 under its first host, Steve Allen. Since Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, Conan O’Brien, and Jay Leno have hosted the show.
- Jimmy Kimmel is also an Emmy-award-winning entertainer known for his work on Comedy Central’s The Man Show before hosting ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! since 2003.
- In 2013, ABC moved Jimmy Kimmel Live! to an earlier time slot to directly compete with Fallon’s The Tonight Show and The Late Show with David Letterman on CBS.
- With ABC’s 1.75 million viewers to NBC’s 1.54, Jimmy Kimmel Live! beat out The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in 2021 for having the higher viewership for the first time in its 18-year run.
- After 42 years of The Tonight Show filming in LA, Jimmy Fallon moved it back to “the place of its birth,” New York City, in 2014 at the start of his hosting the show.
- Jimmy Kimmel Live! has not been live since 2004, since censors were unable to “bleep censor a barrage of swearing” from a guest.
While Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon both have admirable careers and have become legends of late night in their own rights, only one Jimmy reigns supreme. And, that Jimmy is Jimmy Kimmel. From his bold approach to hosting to on-the-street segments, Kimmel appeals to the average person without needing constant gimmicks.
'Jimmy Kimmel Live' features sharp political commentary interspersed with different segments. His show focuses more on interviews and standup comedy. On the other hand, Fallon is well known for games such as Lip-Sync battles, True Confessions, and recently Hashtags. While all of these are fun, 'Late Night with Jimmy Fallon' is more of a variety show than a talk show. Kimmel delivers on what he promises to the audience—something that makes him stand out among the likes of Fallon or James Corden.
While Kimmel isn't afraid to engage with politics or address 'the elephant in the room,' Fallon noted in 2017 that he “didn’t love politics” and preferred pop culture. It was an interesting take considering he brought on then-presidential candidate Donald Trump in 2016 for a mock job interview.
While politics isn't for everyone, Kimmel easily transitions from serious topics to comedy, offering his viewers an entertaining array of comedic commentary.
Reflecting more on Fallon's game-gimmicks, his heavy reliance on celebrities for clearly rehearsed segments removes believability. Kimmel, however, features entertaining segments such as 'Celebrities Read Mean Tweets,' where famous people do just that—offering seemingly real reactions. Kimmel delivers an honest show that doesn't aim to sugarcoat news stories or celebrity guests. Fallon is funny, but his reluctance to engage without barriers falls short.
Millions of Americans tune in regularly to watch their favorite late-night talk show hosts. Currently, the two popular late-night hosts include Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel. Both have been around for some years and offer a combination of music parodies, celebrity interviews, and comedy sketches. But who is better, Fallon or Kimmel, is easily and obviously decided.
Fallon dominates the late-night talk hosting sphere for several reasons. At first glance, it is obvious that Fallon is more laid back and less formal, which allows him to engage easily with the audience and guests. Secondly, there is a huge comedic gap between the two hosts when it comes to delivering the monologue: Kimmel is predictable and always goes after Trump or some rogue politician, which gets dry after some time. On the other hand, Fallon is an all-around comedian with good delivery and refrains from getting involved in politics. He offers a party atmosphere, which makes the show good-humored, entertaining, and funny for everyone. When it comes to guest interviews, Kimmel is not original, frequently tries to copy his mentor David Letterman, and can come off cynical. However, Fallon is lighthearted, frequently sets up stunts for the guests, and does not suck up to them. Kimmel will often laugh with the guests even though there is nothing funny. Fallon usually allows the show to flow and will involve the audience.
The one area where they are equal is in landing top stars and celebs to come on their shows, but if you want to have a good laugh and be entertained all the way through, Jimmy Fallon is the star of late-night TV for you.