Comparing the current line-up of late-night TV hosts has almost become comparing desserts over apples and oranges, because it all depends on the one you want to laugh at the most. Perhaps it also comes down to how relatable or cerebral you want your political satire. That is what it really comes down to, especially since Jimmy Fallon definitely becomes more political after fans complain that he does not keep track of competitors like Stephen Colbert in destroying the Trumps.
Well, if you have to compare these hosts, Colbert can now be in his own category. This lets Fallon compare with Jimmy Kimmel – both hosts who are more responsive to the “let’s have a late-night party” crowd. Which is better based on comic level, interview style and guest caliber?
Does Jimmy Kimmel or Jimmy Fallon have a better comedy style?
There is a big comic gap between Fallon and Kimmel, namely in the delivery of their monologues. Kimmel is very dry in his birth and he touches all his comic goals with stunning perfection. Kimmel is chasing Trump just as maliciously as Colbert, even if it never undermines.
You could say that Kimmel and Fallon both bring their jokes to the normal level so that everyone can find them funny without having to think too much. Fallon is the best in party-like jokes that look easy to write on paper, but still require good delivery to make them work.
Fallon now has enough practice to properly recite a simple political joke. However, nobody really tunes in to that. Everyone looks out of hope that he will do something else, such as a musical parody or other stunts. Yes, Fallon (for the most part) took The Tonight Show back to its old party atmosphere that Johnny Carson started and expanded Jay Leno.
Kimmel keeps things a little more subdued on the set, even if some of the stunts he does with random people are sometimes uproar. He mainly focuses on pieces about doing sketch comedy Fallon excels in his SNL days.
How different are Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon’s interview styles?
If you have to compare Kimmel’s interview style with someone, it might be David Letterman. The latter kept his interviews very informal and sometimes brought surprises to the guests. Kimmel has a very similar style, including always keeping things funny, even when discussing serious things.
Fallon is very different in his interview style, while always maintaining a light-hearted feeling. Some might argue that he is keeping things too light to a point where it sounds like a high school kid who goes looking while interviewing legendary stars. Also different from Kimmel is that Fallon regularly arranges guests to play a game or stunt with the host instead of long interviews.
As we have seen, Kimmel is the one most inclined to do what Letterman did well: get serious when it comes to tackling a major tragedy. Kimmel does this very well, while he can still switch to his dry comic deliveries.
Fallon can do well if he wants to. Although for the most part he avoids seriously, including admitting that he is pretending to maintain a good time. Those of you who prefer an agile mix choose Kimmel in the interview arena.
Which one has better guests?
There used to be a big difference in who had better guests in late-night TV based on being in Los Angeles or New York City. Fallon chose to bring The Tonight Show back to its original roots in NYC in Studio 6B, where Carson organized its first decade. Kimmel has since debuted at the old El Capitan Theater in the heart of Hollywood.
Nowadays both of them are top stars, depending on who is available on every coast. Kimmel often has the entire cast of major movie franchises (like almost everyone from Avengers: Endgame earlier this year), something that Fallon can’t always reach. On the other hand, he had a group interview with the entire cast of Stranger Things, which showed that the guest exchange on the A-list is the same.
Deciding whether Kimmel or Fallon is the real king of late-night TV is completely subjective based on what you go for in comedy, including viral bits. In our book, Colbert is the true late-night king at the moment. They are all at the top of their games, making them worth watching from week to week based on current cultural events.