In the ratings battle between the late night hosts, Jimmy Fallon is currently in danger of slipping to third place behind Jimmy Kimmel. Fallon already lost claim to the top ratings spot to Stephen Colbert earlier this year, but now a once huge lead over the other Jimmy has evaporated to just a few hundred thousand viewers.
The dramatic downward trajectory is likely due to Fallon’s decision to refrain from having hard-hitting segments about President Donald Trump’s administration, while Colbert and Kimmel have had massive success doing just that.
Amid the ratings drop (and to promote Fallon’s new children’s book, Everything Is Mama), fellow NBC show “Sunday Today” will have Fallon on for an interview about “The Tonight Show” this weekend. As a teaser, “Today” released a segment of the interview where host Willie Geist asks Fallon why he isn’t going after Trump.
“It’s just not what I do,” Fallon said in response. “I think it would be weird for me to start doing it now. I don’t really even care that much about politics. I’ve got to be honest. I love pop culture more than I love politics. I’m just not that brain.”
I love pop culture more than I love politics. I’m just not that brain.Jimmy Fallon
Critics have branded Fallon as being too soft for these times ever since he had Trump on as a guest back during the current president’s candidacy. In that interview, Fallon infamously ruffled Trump’s hair.
Geist asked if Fallon should pivot in the direction that other late night hosts have and start presenting a stronger reaction to this presidency.
“No, I mean, I think the other guys are doing it very well,” Fallon said. “Colbert’s doing great, I mean that’s what he’s good at. He’s always into like a political comedy. I think when it’s organic, I’ll dip into it as well.”
Fallon pointed out that he made “thousands of jokes” about Obama, but that the bleakness of Trump’s presidency makes it hard for him to find the funny side.
“With Trump, it’s just like every day’s a new thing he gives uh, you know, a lot of material,” Fallon said. “A lot of stuff is hard to even make a joke about because it’s just too serious.”