Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
The Roots, Jimmy Fallon
The Roots, Jimmy Fallon
Screenshot: The Tonight Show

We got more or less a complete Tonight Show on Friday, in the sense that Jimmy Fallon got out his contacts list and let his wifi do the rest. With late-night still adapting to this new normal of social distancing, tinny sound, realistically blotchy skin tones, and the undoubtedly awkward feeling of delivering monologue one-liners to your wife holding the iPhone, Fallon’s 42-minute Friday show was pretty much The Tonight Show you remember. Even a Brady Bunch-style split-screen rendition of “Stuck In The Middle With You” with individually sequestered house band The Roots came in as a logistically impressive treat.

As for that contacts list, it’s good to have talented friends on speed-dial, as Fallon Zoom-ed in old Weekend Update partner Tina Fey from her own secure Manhattan apartment location. That’s where she shared how her family is weathering a responsibly close-quarters lock-in without strangling anybody, in the form of an airline theme-dinner to keep the kids busy (and the parents plied with oversized first class helpings of wine), and an online talent show with the kids of all Fey’s enviably hilarious Wine Country friend group video-conferencing an hour-long juvenile sketch-variety show. (Think TGS With Slightly More Contortionist Acts.) Fey also used her time with old pal Fallon to explain how she’s helping keep her shuttered Mean Girls cast and crew going during their time in the mandatory lockout of the hit Broadway show, and to plug the fine people at charity City Harvest, who are helping feed New Yorkers struggling at the American epicenter of this whole pandemic. (They also played a goof-around game with an Alexa, because, again, it’s The Tonight Show.)

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And speaking of heroic, food-related do-gooders, Fallon also welcomed via video chat World Central Kitchen founder and all-around cool guy, Chef José Andrés. Sporting his favorite “Immigrants Feed America” T-shirt alongside his teenage daughters, Andrés offered up a quick, frenetic, and adaptable fried rice recipe (using whatever canned stuff is in the back of your cupboards at this point), and some sage advice about not only donating to WCK and other food banks springing up to help out in this time of need for so many, but about saying thank you to “the woman who is working in the supermarket eight hours a day,” and the medical professionals on the front lines of a war that, once again, people like Donald Trump are nowhere near. Said André of his staff and the rest actually trying to be “part of the solution and not part of the problem,” “the best of America shows up in these times.”

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

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