Fallon to Hillary: ‘Which Trump Are You Going to Get’ in the Debate?

Ken Tucker

It started out with a dumb sight gag — Jimmy Fallon donning a surgical mask to greet the now pneumonia-free Hillary Clinton on Monday’s Tonight Show — and it ended with Fallon reading letters from kids written to Clinton, including one that advised, “Cut your hair now lol.” At one point, Fallon said the current campaign is “long and long and long,” and as if to prove it, that’s how he made his interview seem as well.

At one point, Fallon said, “We have the debate coming up. Which Trump are you going to get? ’Cause he seems to be changing a bit, ah…” His voice trailed off, either because he realized he was about to suggest that Donald Trump was trying to, as they say, become more presidential or, more likely, he just didn’t know what his staff had been getting at when they wrote that card for him to read. In any case, Clinton pounced.

“He’s trying to convince people to somehow forget everything he’s said and done, and I don’t think he’s going to get away with that,” she said. “Your former guest Donald Trump has refused to admit that President Obama is an American, born in America. For five years he’s been hammering this so-called birther movement, which I think is so sickening.” Then Clinton pulled out that Maya Angelou quote she’s been using in her stump speech for a while now: “When someone shows you who he is, believe him the first time.”

“That’s good,” said Fallon. “She is amazing,” he added, feeling obliged to express admiration for a poet. It was like awkward cocktail chatter between two people who just wanted to find their real friends at the party.

Fallon isn’t simply a mediocre interviewer; he’s often an incoherent one. Thus, Clinton had to field pop-fly bloopers such as, “We have little boys and girls who watch our show — why should they grow up to be president — want to grow up to be president?” Huh? Clinton had to respond by trying to inject some meaning into Fallon’s word salad, and then steer the conversation, such as it was, into a campaign message: “Well, they should grow up to be what they want to be … [and] not bump up against a hard glass ceiling … because of where they were born, [or] that somehow the American dream isn’t big enough for them. What kind of country do we want to be? Are we going to have all this bigotry and bullying that’s going on?”

Taped last Friday, this interview certainly wasn’t a newsmaker. Early on, still harping on her pneumonia, Fallon went for an easy laugh, asking, “Is Bill a good nurse?” Clinton responded with a curt, “He’s very solicitous,” and then went on to say that her dogs were equally caring. Ooof. Hillary, just stop doing these kinds of interviews.

The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. ET on NBC.