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'The Tonight Show': 4 reasons you should have tuned in

Posted by Emily Wright  February 18, 2014 01:02 AM

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If you didn't stay awake until midnight on Monday to catch Jimmy Fallon's premiere on "The Tonight Show," that's OK -- we've got you covered. But you should have watched.

Why? Because there's something about the humility that Jimmy Fallon brings to the table that is going to keep people coming back for more.

The new face of NBC's "Tonight Show" used a simple, humble formula to become a trending topic on Twitter (both himself and the show): Clever (relatively clean) writing, lots of thank yous, some dance moves, and a couple of epic performances by U2.

Here's the top 4 reasons you should have tuned in:

1. A slew of celebrities paid up after betting against Fallon

After his monologue, Fallon sat down behind his big 'ol desk and brought up the fact that there were lots of people who bet against him making it to "The Tonight Show." Then, a TON of A-list celebrities walked out to pay up. Here's the list:

1. Robert De Niro (Fallon's first guest from "Late Night")
2. Tina Fey
3. Joe Namath
4. Rudy Giuliani
5. Mariah Carey
6. Tracy Morgan
7. Joan Rivers
8. Kim Kardashian
9. Seth Rogen
10. Lindsay Lohan
11. Sarah Jessica Parker
12. Mike Tyson
13. Lady Gaga
14. Stephen Colbert (who paid in pennies)

2. U2

Not only did one of the biggest bands in the world show up to perform, they showed up and performed TWO songs, including one on the roof of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The other song was a U2 acoustic (see the shot below), that included Fallon on a newly-gifted (from Bono) guitar.

A special in-song shout out and lyric tweak from Bono to Questlove had The Roots' drummer aflutter on Twitter.

3. The Evolution of Hip-Hop Dancing with Will Smith

Will Smith doesn't have any upcoming projects coming out, but as Fallon described him, he is a "huge, huge movie star," so he occupied the couch as the first guest of the new "Tonight" era.

Before the couch, though, Fallon and Smith teamed up for the "Evolution of Hip-Hop Dancing," which included moves like "The Fish Eye" and "The Carlton." It would have been 10 times better with Alfonso Ribeiro there kicking it a la "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," but it was great nonetheless.

We're hoping to see Justin Timberlake's "The Evolution of Hip-Hop" segment revived when he visits the show on Friday.

4. Jimmy's humble and funny pair of monologues

First he came out and talked to the crowd about his humble beginnings (noting he didn't even know if he was going to graduate high school when he was younger), showing off his parents who he was so glad to have in the audience, and thanking the people who have stuck by him from the beginning.

Then, after introducing his house band, The Roots, and announcer Steve Higgins, he walked back behind the curtain and did a true "Tonight Show" monologue with what we're guessing will be a recurring segment, "Superlatives."

Emily Wright can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @missemilywright.

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Katie McLeod is's features editor.

Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at

Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer at

Sarah Rodman is a TV and music critic for the Boston Globe.

Meghan Colloton is a Things to Do and Arts & Entertainment producer at

Michael Brodeur is the assistant arts editor for the Boston Globe, covering pop music, TV, and nightlife.