Jimmy Fallon has revolutionized The Tonight Show. He has gained a loyal following while adding a new dimension to a television standard that has existed for decades. In a short period of time he has boosted ratings while becoming one of the most coveted appearances for actors.
Jimmy has convinced actors to take part in ridiculous contests that bring embarrassment, pies in the face, and being soaked with water. They will enthusiastically lip sync to all genres of songs, inhale helium to read things, and take risks that could potentially reveal weaknesses in their talents. Even though they know this potential exists they still love to be on his show.
How does he get them to do this? How is he persuasive enough that they will willingly engage in such frivolous activities? I don't think there is a magic formula, but I believe Jimmy exhibits certain qualities that make this is a reality:
- He never asks them to do something he won't do himself.
- He laughs at himself as much as they laugh together.
- He has earned credibility through consistent character.
- He is a genuinely nice guy which is refreshing in a place of pretension.
- He takes risks which are aimed at engaging the audience and never at ridiculing anyone.
- He trusts the team around him even when their ideas seem outlandish.
- He obviously has fun at what he does and doesn't take himself too seriously.
These qualities make for a good late night show, but I think they make for a pretty good leader as well.