How do you distill five years, gazillions of YouTube views, and countless celebrity games into a single two-hour special? Viewers will find out tonight at 9 p.m. ET, when NBC hands primetime over to impending Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon.
With only about seven weeks to go until Fallon finally inherits that franchise from once and current host Jay Leno, it’s the perfect time to reminisce about his Late Night‘s highest highlights… and to start speculating about how, exactly, Fallon plans to inject Tonight with the same sort of wide-eyed, internet-friendly humor he’s peddled at 12:36 for the past half-decade. Having seen the special in advance, I can assure you that it features plenty of material sure to please avid Fallon fans — and, perhaps, to convince skeptics that he really is the right man for the Tonight gig as well. And when watching a compilation like this, you may also start to notice that certain patterns emerge — which is where the drinking game thing comes in.
So when 9 p.m. rolls around, sit back, relax, and crack open something cold — and if you’d like to make the viewing experience even more amusing, feel free to follow the rules laid out below. Obviously, PopWatch cautions you to celebrate responsibly — not everyone’s got the constitution of Betty White.
Take a sip every time…
– …a bit hinges on ’90s nostalgia.
– …Justin Timberlake shows up.
– …Fallon or the Roots perform an original song. Double points if that original song subsequently gets stuck in your head.
– …Fallon’s dressed like a lady. Double points if he’s next to another male celebrity in drag.
– …Fallon falls down. (This rule will make more sense once you’re a few segments into the special.)
Take two sips every time…
– …someone white starts rapping
– …Bill Cosby starts rapping.
– …an Obama does something that will delight his/her supporters and infuriate his/her critics.
– …Fallon does a celebrity impression next to or in front of the celebrity he’s impersonating. (Caution: You may want to issue a brief suspension of this rule in the special’s second hour, for the sake of your physical and mental health.)
– …there’s a game involving Solo cups.
– …Fallon breaks. (Honestly, it doesn’t happen as often as you might expect.) Double points if the person who broke him is Will Ferrell.
Put down your drink, roll your eyes, and sigh “come on” when…
– …Fallon mentions all the amazing stars who have appeared on Late Night during his tenure, including “Bruce Springsteen, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt… [and] Miley Cyrus.” (Yeah, that actually happens.)
Finish your drink, chug a second one, and invite everyone to the garage to gawk at your classic car collection if…
– …in the middle of Fallon introducing a new segment, two figures suddenly burst through a wall, fighting like a cobra and a mongoose — and they turn out to be Leno and Conan.