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Wednesday, May 04, 2016

You Can't Plan Spontaneity


Last night, Jimmy Fallon did another one of his silly games with a guest. This one involved Chris Evans playing blackjack against Fallon, and whoever lost each hand had a pitcher of ice water poured into his pants. It's the kind of non-spontaneous spontaneity this "Tonight Show" is known for, as the games have to keep getting more outrageous to keep viewers (both on TV and in online clips) coming back for more.

What's missing is the genuine spontaneity of moments like the following. It's from September 26th, 1974, with guest Dom DeLuise showing Johnny Carson a trick involving raw eggs. Unlike Fallon (or any other current late night host), it's obvious that Carson's staff did not tell him ahead of time what DeLuise was planning, so he could react to it extemporaneously. It's also clear that what happened after the trick was Carson, the ultimate showman, and DeLuise, master of comedic timing, recognizing an opportunity to take things to another level, and the result was classic television: