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TOTO: Fallon, Kimmel and Stern: Here’s the Naked Truth Behind Cancel Culture
Jimmy Fallon as Donald Trump during "Trump's State of the Union First Draft" on February 5, 2020 -- (Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

The New York Times recently spat out 3,500 words excoriating Jimmy Fallon, a feature triggered by the comic’s 20-year-old blackface sketch. The same article dismissed fellow late-night host Jimmy Kimmel’s serial blackface routines with a sentence fragment. That’s no accident.

It’s part of a coordinated campaign on multiple fronts, but one that can be seen as two distinct efforts.

  • Bully less partisan voices like Fallon into towing the hard-Left line.
  • Let problematic stars slide if they’re able to serve the progressive cause.

The Fallon article is a doozy, a lengthy tome epitomizing this trend to a “T.”

The headline speaks volumes: “Jimmy Fallon Is Sorry, But What Does That Mean?” The subhead is even more ominous.

The “Tonight Show” host was forced to publicly reckon with a blackface clip from his past and his own role in systemic racism. But will it lead to a true change, or was it just lip service?

Cancel Culture isn’t interested in forgiveness or evolution. They want to make you say what they want you to say.

Fallon fully participated in the article, one where he frequently worries about atoning for his past sin beyond his cringe-worthy apology.

The same sin, mind you, that Kimmel did multiple times without a single mea culpa up until this week. Kimmel donned blackface to portray both Karl Malone and Oprah Winfrey on his Comedy Central series “The Man Show.” He demeaned women on said show for laughs, too, something the woke crowd now deems unacceptable.

It took pressure from conservative groups, and a growing sense of hypocrisy, for Kimmel to finally apologize for “some” of his past actions this week. And he did so while swiping at his critics, even calling them racist along the way.

Jimmy Kimmel

Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images

Stunning. Still, that should be enough to keep any professional cancellations at bay. Last we checked Kimmel is still set to host September’s Emmy Awards ceremony. Kevin Hart couldn’t be reached for comment.

We certainly won’t see The New York Times hold Kimmel’s feet to the cultural fire like it did for Fallon.

How does Kimmel get a pass? That’s rhetorical. Orange Man Bad … at least until November.

The New York Times’ Fallon feature, of course, reminds us how apolitical the “Saturday Night Live” alum is in the Age of Trump. Sure, he’ll tell a few Trump jokes now and then, but his focus is on sillier, apolitical chatter.

That’s unacceptable to The New York Times, the media and the Left.

It’s similar to how the media bullied Taylor Swift until she finally joined The Resistance. Now, she’s a reliable mouth piece for progressive policies. They even made a Netflix documentary about it, dubbed “Miss Americana.”

They want Fallon to follow her lead. And he seems either game or too scared to say no.

The New York Times article brings up what got Fallon in “trouble” in the first place. He tousled then-candidate Donald Trump’s hair prior to the 2016 presidential election on “The Tonight Show,” humanizing him in the process.

Unforgivable. The press has hounded Fallon about it for some time, forcing an apology out of him eventually.

Now, he’s ready to do their bidding. But will it even be good enough? The New York Times isn’t convinced he’s been effectively reprogrammed:

…he wanted to make a “Tonight Show” that amplified the calls for change rising up from these demonstrations. But even before he apologized for his role in the blackface segment, it was unclear if he was the ideal person for this job….

Fallon, by his own admission, is an entertainer who thrives on fun and frivolity. He is also vulnerable to a zeitgeist that can quickly turn against his down-the-middle program — he is still criticized for tousling the hair of then-candidate Donald J. Trump in 2016 — and favor fellow hosts who are more comfortable staking out bolder positions.

“Bolder” means “more progressive,” of course. And an entertainer striving to be  “down the middle,” thereby appealing to both red and blue states, is now a thoughtcrime.

We’re then reminded that Fallon has problematic skin color (hint: it’s the same as Kimmel’s, but his apparently isn’t nearly as problematic).

The recent efforts of “The Tonight Show” and other late-night programs to address these subjects have once again called attention to how predominantly white and male this genre remains.

That ignores Samantha Bee, Hasan Minhaj, Trevor Noah, Desus & Mero, all of whom currently work in late-night style formats. Michelle Wolf and Chelsea Handler also recently had late-night shows to call their own, as did black comic actor Larry Wilmore.

Fallon could have allowed any media outlet to follow his woke enlightenment. He chose The New York Times profile, one that reads like a long, not so subtle threat.

Fallon’s public reckoning drew some praise as a step in the right direction, but it is only a first step. In a turbulent period when numerous institutions are grappling with systemic racism and how their own failures and inaction have contributed to it, performers and viewers alike are looking to see if “The Tonight Show” — and late-night TV more broadly — is ready to make good on its promises, or is simply paying lip service to a cause.

Howard Stern is already at the former step.

The radio legend donned blackface repeatedly over the years and frequently used the “N-word.” That’s the tip of the problematic iceberg for the self-described “King of All Media.”

Last week Stern responded to a Page Six report acknowledging his problematic bits had resurfaced in recent days.

He hemmed. He hawed. He played the victim card.

What didn’t he do? Apologize. Yet the Cancel Culture mob stood down even though apologies are at the top of its customary “demands” list.


Stern’s been apolitical for most of his career, leaning left here and right there. More recently he became a vocal Trump opponent, completing his slow but steady drift to the Left.

He’s now too useful for the Left to toss aside. Stern, like Kimmel, inoculated himself against Cancel Culture by singing from the progressive hymnal.

Fallon didn’t, and he’s paying the price for it. His punishment may not be over yet.

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