Jimmy Fallon is known for his remarkable sense of humor on NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”, but critics felt that he misplaced his moral compass during his interview with Donald Trump last week. Fallon was accused of keeping the interview too lighthearted, without touching upon any topics of political substance, and instead placing more importance on the ratings of his show. Due the jovial nature of Fallon’s interview with the Republican presidential candidate, Fallon was denounced for “humanizing the monster [Trump]”. The interview ended with the toughest question of the night: Fallon asking if he could run his fingers through Trump’s hair.
Many felt that Fallon’s friendly treatment towards Trump gives America permission to condone racism, sexism, and bigotry in any shape or form. Fallon was expected to showcase a satirical interview with Trump, but instead almost seemed as if he were fawning over Trump through his chuckle or grin in reaction to every one of Trump’s remarks. Despite NBC cutting ties with Trump in 2015, the network proceeded to invite him back to host “Saturday Night Live” just a few months later as well as last week on “The Tonight Show” to joke around with Fallon. Critics attribute NBC’s decision to bring Trump back on air to the fact that they can ignore his problematic rhetoric because it does not target them, but is dangerous to minorities and people of color. In regards to this, Samantha Bee stated, “They’re not gonna be deported. They’re not gonna live under a president who thinks of them as a collection of sex toys. They’re not racist. They just don’t mind if other people are, which is just as bad.”
But what were people expecting? Questions about email servers, misogyny, and racism? No, but the talented talk show host could have easily pressed Trump more in order to educate people about Trump’s tendency to spew hate. In an interview with TMZ, Fallon responded to the backlash by saying, “I’m never too hard on anyone.” Jimmy Fallon’s “The Tonight Show” scores the highest ratings of all late-night shows, and it is because of the comedic relief that his show provides to those tuning in after a long day. His sense of humor appeals to a broad audience range, and for that reason, Fallon tread the thin line between comical and political with Trump.