Hillary on ‘Fallon’ Tonight Won’t Go Viral the Way Trump Did. Here’s Why.

Ken Tucker
Critic-at-Large


Last week, Donald Trump got his hair mussed by Jimmy Fallon in one of the lower points in talk-show history. And because we are living in Trump World, it went viral. On Monday night, Hillary Clinton will appear on The Tonight Show. I predict her appearance will not have similar success. Here’s why.

First, from the clip and descriptions available so far, Clinton’s Fallon-comedy-moment looks really lame. Fallon greets her wearing a surgical mask, because, you know, pneumonia is a real laff-getter. (This is now a theme in Fallon’s approach to Hillary humor: Last week — the same night he hosted Trump — Fallon did an opening-monologue joke about Clinton’s appearance on the cover of Women’s Health magazine and moaned, “Oh, disaster!”)

Second, Clinton taped the appearance this past Friday. What the hell were Clinton’s people thinking? If you’re running for president, you want to make every public appearance an opportunity to comment on what’s going on right now. Everything you see with Clinton on tonight’s episode of The Tonight Show took place last week — before the New York and New Jersey bombings, to take just the most obvious current-news example.


Thus, according to Reuters and NBC, we will hear Fallon ask Clinton about how she’ll project an image that says to America that she’s “someone who’s going to protect us and be strong and tough.” Not-funnily enough, Fallon did not ask the same sort of “Are you tough enough?” question of Trump.

It looks as though Clinton will do what every grown-up loves doing on TV — give some goofball a high-five — and feel obliged to guffaw heartily at Jimmy’s germ-mask gag, while the rest of us at home just gag. At this point, you’d think Clinton would just give up trying to swallow the Tonight Show’s usual crap sandwich with a please-like-me smile and get on with the job of campaigning as, you know, someone who’s presidential. She even told an audience today that she’s “not the showman” Trump is, and that she’s “fine” with that. She doesn’t look fine with it by making appearances like this.


And of course, there’s always the possibility that the Tonight Show’s Hillary interview will be hilarious, moving, and insightful. I’ll watch so you don’t have to, and will report back tomorrow.

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