In his five years as the host of Late Night, Jimmy Fallon has reinvented the concept of the late night talk show. A former SNL star with a series of failed films under his belt, Fallon had everything to prove. However, he quickly demonstrated that his penchant for giggle fits and charmingly personable demeanor lend themselves to an hour of television that is both entertaining and easy to watch.
When comedy legend, Johnny Carson, premiered on the Tonight Show in 1962, his show became a cultural centerpiece with the American people, changing the game for late-night TV. Over time, his show, and other programs like it, became a jumping-off point for comedians, and hosting became something concrete to aspire to as the ultimate sign of success.
Although these shows are held to the same FCC standards as their primetime counterparts, they can skirt the line with a little more liberty. In short, they’re looser. Each night, the late night block urges its viewers to unwind and have a nightcap.
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But each show’s host is so distinct that it would be impossible to watch them all in the same fashion. As someone who has invested a great deal of time getting to know these men without ever having met them, I’d like to suggest what to drink in order to best enjoy each show. And who better to start with than with the reigning king of late night, Jimmy Fallon?
As the current host of the Tonight Show, Fallon has taken his insanely silly brand of viral entertainment to 11:30 p.m. The key to Fallon’s success is just that: he is almost universally enjoyable. Which is why his versatility is best embodied by the similarly adaptable Chenin Blanc. Originating in the Loire region of France, Chenin Blanc’s reach has spread; it’s now the most popular variety of grape grown in South Africa, and production across the U.S. has spread as well.
Universally noted for its acidity, Chenin Blanc grapes can be used in different styles, depending on their countries of origin. These wines run the gambit, with the most affordable varieties producing a zesty and dry still wine, and sweet dessert wines on the higher end, in addition Chenin Blanc can be used to produce light, sparkling wines – great for mimosas.
The versatility of Chenin Blanc aligns itself perfectly with Fallon’s unique grab-bag of nightly comedy. He can be sheepishly sweet, as evidenced by his adorable recent interview with Nicole Kidman, in which the actress admitted to a one-time crush on Fallon. Fallon is also dryly snarky each Friday night, when he writes thank you notes addressing the week’s top stories. But Fallon is at his best when he’s being his bubbly self, messing around with his guests, whether its a traditional drinking game or hosting a lip synch battle. Or literally any of Justin Timberlake’s appearances on the show.
Chenin Blanc, because of its adaptability, also pairs well with a slew of dishes. Fruitier Chenin Blancs pair nicely with salads and vegetables, whereas drier varieties nicely accompany fish and meat. Similarly, Fallon has proven himself a formidable match to guests from all walks of life, from hanging with the teenage heartthrobs of One Direction, joking with the best players in the NBA, interviewing veteran sportscaster Bob Costas, or chatting with icons like Sir Paul McCartney. So, whether you’re in the mood for still or sparkling, sour or sweet, you can’t go wrong with a glass of Chenin Blanc and an episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Header Image Courtesy NBC
Colette Bloom is a writer living in New York. In the eighth grade, she read the first half of Atlas Shrugged but then it fell out of her backpack and the spine cracked and she figured it would be easier to just watch TV. Follow her on Twitter @cobloom.