Ugly. Not car wreck ugly, but maybe “not-so-pretty girl at the prom with salsa dribbled all over her dress” ugly. More, “that’s a shame” than “that was lame”.
I don’t think I ever watched Conan from beginning to end the entire time he was on, but I’ve already watched the first two Fallon’s and they seem pretty unsaveable. The blame does not fall squarely on him, however. Jitters are to be expected, especially from someone who can wear his heart (and butterflies) on his sleeve. The problem was how unfunny the whole thing was. Nerves you can overcome, bad writing has a stench that lingers.
Jimmy is someone you want to root for. He seems like a nice enough guy, hip in a slightly nerdy way, so he may be given a grace period that grants him an entire first season. Conan and Kimmel got off to memorably bad starts as well before settling into their own brand of wack. Jimmy may do the same, if he lasts that long.
There are a couple more big problems.
1) He doesn’t seem to have much talent as a stand-up comedian. I don’t know much about him, is that where he got his start because it doesn’t feel natural on him. His monologues fall completely flat (there’s that stench again) and the clever bits thrown throughout the show tend to misfire. One skit had people from the audience on stage to lick something for $10 bucks. Not funny.
2) He sorta suffers from mush mouth. If you’ve ever watched an Elvis Presley movie, you’ll notice that all of his lines come out of his mouth as if they were one word. “Welldarlingmeetmebythepoolafterthelastsong.” This was, no doubt, the amphetamines talking. Jimmy seems to have a similar cadence where he starts to say something, giggles, cuts himself off with an “awesome” and then tries to regroup. Maybe it’s because his guests are so much funnier than he is that he can’t help himself. Maybe he can outgrow this tick. Maybe not.
I wish him well, but it doesn’t look good. As Lorne Michaels told him, “you don’t go from this to being the third lead in a movie”. It’s a career maker or breaker. Too bad no one’s planning a sequel to Taxi or Fever Pitch (I did love that movie) for him to fall back on.