Jimmy Fallon, the host of NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” has been canceled.
Well, not really, and that’s what makes it such an important story.
While the hashtag #jimmyfallonisoverparty trended on Twitter, neither social media nor NBC are actually making too much of a clip showing Fallon as black comedian Chris Rock, complete with face-darkening makeup.
The “Saturday Night Live” sketch from 2000 recently began making the rounds again on social media, but since Fallon is a left-leaning celebrity, he mostly gets a pass.
The original sketch was promoted on NBC’s website as a featured clip titled “Regis co-host auditions.”
In the skit, Darrell Hammond as Regis Philbin “auditioned” various celebrities, played by the SNL cast, to replace co-host Kathie Lee on ABC’s “Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee.”
It featured the likes of Tracy Morgan as Star Jones and Cheri Oteri as Barbara Walters, both of whom were original co-hosts of ABC’s “The View,” as well as Rachel Dratch, Ana Gasteyer and others.
Notably, Fallon is listed in the credits on the network’s official page with the clip, but his performance was completely scrubbed from the sketch.
But since the internet is forever, the clip was posted on YouTube in February 2019 with the subtitle, “NBC fired Megan Kelly for mentioning blackface. Jimmy Fallon performed on NBC in blackface.”
After a Twitter user shared the clip Tuesday, the hashtag began to trend on Twitter.
— s🅰️m🐀 (@chefboyohdear) May 26, 2020
“I’ve seen ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,’ and guess what? Not a lot of black folks on the show,” Fallon said in the scripted skit.
“Know why? Because black folks don’t like to answer questions,” he continued.
“Oh, they want to be millionaires, but you got to ask their kind of question, like, ‘In 1981, how many grams of crack did Rick James smoke when he recorded ‘Super Freak?'”
“Regis, you think the only way to get a brother on the show is to name it ‘Who Wants $50 Cash and a Pair of Pumas.'”
Another YouTube user posted an astonishing side-by-side comparison of the original broadcast and edited clip on NBC’s website.
In a separate incident, NBC famously ripped Megyn Kelly off air and ultimately canceled her show “Megyn Kelly Today” after she discussed the use of blackface as part of a Halloween costume, though clearly not defending it in the historical context of perpetuating racial stereotypes, in an October 23, 2018 broadcast.
She apologized on her show the following day, but the damage was done, and so was her career at NBC.
Fallon, who actually wore blackface for a sketch, tweeted an apology only after the performance was resurrected on Twitter decades later.
“In 2000, while on SNL, I made a terrible decision to do an impersonation of Chris Rock while in blackface,” Fallon wrote Tuesday.
“There is no excuse for this. I am very sorry for making this unquestionably offensive decision and thank all of you for holding me accountable.”
In 2000, while on SNL, I made a terrible decision to do an impersonation of Chris Rock while in blackface. There is no excuse for this.
I am very sorry for making this unquestionably offensive decision and thank all of you for holding me accountable.
— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) May 26, 2020
It doesn’t appear NBC is at all interested in holding him accountable as the only action the network has taken so far was to make sure the performance was simply cut out with the hopes it would be forgotten.
Unlike Kelly, Fallon has yet to face major fallout and even had actor Jamie Foxx come to his defense on an E! News Instagram post.
“We comedians I know it’s a tough time right now. But this one is a stretch. On a show called in living color we played every race Let this one go. We got bigger fish to fry,” he wrote, according to Entertainment Tonight.
Apparently, Hollywood suddenly knows the distinction between offensive stereotyping and convincing character portrayal.
The double standard did not escape Twitter users.
“Jimmy Fallon is being cancelled by the Twitter mob because he once put on blackface to play Chris Rock in a Saturday Night Live skit twenty years ago,” one user pointed out.
“Meanwhile, Justin Trudeau and Ralph Northam get a pass,” the tweet went on, referring to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, both of whom have been photographed wearing offensive costumes but suffered few consequences.
Jimmy Fallon is being cancelled by the Twitter mob because he once put on blackface to play Chris Rock in a Saturday Night Live skit twenty years ago.
— Possum Reviews (@ReviewsPossum) May 26, 2020
It’s doubtful that NBC will discard Fallon the way it did Kelly because it was never really about racism in the first place, but more about who Kelly was and the conservative viewpoint she represented.
Instead, the usual suspects will circle the wagons for their liberal media comrade while conservative Kelly was made an example of for defending the use of makeup in a Halloween costume.
The only silver lining is that with the rise of social media and platforms like YouTube, there is no hiding liberals’ hypocrisy. America is watching.
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