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Opinion Jimmy Fallon’s hard-hitting Trump interview

Donald Trump, left, appears on “The Tonight Show” with host Jimmy Fallon in New York on Thursday. (Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCUniversal Media via Reuters)

Jimmy Fallon has come under fire for his handling of Donald Trump on “The Tonight Show” on Thursday. But as many commenters have pointed out, what else did we expect from a man who plays beer pong with celebrities as a profession? In every Panem, someone has to be Caesar Flickerman. That David Letterman managed to give Trump some pushback seems like the exception, not the rule.

Jimmy Fallon’s sole purpose in life is to make wacky celebrity clips go viral online. How could he possibly press Trump on his xenophobia and lack of substance?


Word Sneak. Fallon and Trump are each given five cards, each with words on it that they must work seamlessly and casually into conversation. Trump’s five cards read, “I will release my tax return,” “It is a matter of public record that I did not oppose the Iraq War,” “My actual immigration policy is,” “I once spent $20,000 earmarked for charity to buy a six-foot painting of myself” and “I denounce the KKK, actually, for real.”

Random Object Three-Point Shootout. The random object used to shoot baskets is Trump’s tax return.

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Space Train. During the interview, Fallon mentions a ’90s film that he and Trump were both in called “Space Train.” When Trump says he does not remember, Fallon plays a clip of his actual remarks to Howard Stern in which he does not oppose the Iraq War.

Catch Phrase. Fallon and Trump are each paired with an audience member to play a game of Catch Phrase. The category is “basic fundamentals of American civics” and includes articles of the Constitution, the role of the judiciary, what the president can and cannot do, and what the First Amendment does. Trump is not allowed to leave until the category is exhausted.

Sticky Balls. Fallon and Trump both don Velcro suits and pelt each other with red balls for 45 seconds, during which time Fallon loudly fact-checks Trump’s claims that the real unemployment rate is 42 percent.

The Late Night Invitational. Fallon and Trump play a round of miniature golf around the studio. Trump will at last be caught on camera cheating at golf.

Water War. Fallon reads from a list of charities to ask if Trump has ever donated to them personally. Each time Trump deflects, Fallon squirts him with water.

Egg Russian Roulette. Fallon and Trump crack eggs over each other’s heads while Steve Higgins reads, verbatim, a letter from 50 experts in foreign policy and national security stating he is “not qualified to be commander in chief” until one of the eggs breaks.

Pictionary. Fallon and Trump each pair with an audience member for a round of Pictionary. Fallon’s picture is a graph of the actual economic impact of Trump’s policies.

Celebrity. Fallon and Trump each pair with an audience member to give clues to allow each other to guess the identity of a celebrity. That celebrity is Vladimir Putin. The constraint in the second round is that Trump is not allowed to say anything nice about him.

Flip Cup. Just a game of flip cup.