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Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Next Late Night War: Stephen Colbert fueds with Jimmy Fallon

    The latest round of The Late Night Wars has begun. And already ended. On March 2nd, Ben and Jerry helped Jimmy Fallon celebrate the second anniversary of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon by presenting him with his own flavor of ice-cream, Light Night Snack. By Thursday night, Colbert was ranting on his show, The Colbert Report, that there was only room for one late night host inspired ice-cream, and his Americone Dream was the one. Fallon appeared on Colbert's show, and the two faced off.

      Fallon and Colbert argued. Among the best insults were Colbert's reference to Fallon's tendency to crack up during his sketches on Saturday Night Live, which almost made Fallon crack up, and Fallon reminding people that Colbert was in the movie Bewitched. Not exactly an insult, just a reminder. Then both called for their lead-ins to assist in the battle. Jon Stewart readily showed up with a baseball bat, but Fallon received only a phone call from Jay Leno (presumably; we didn't hear his voice) saying he couldn't make it. Not surprising, since Leno films his show in Los Angeles, and the other three hosts are New York City based. Stewart sulkily backed out of the fight, not having his own flavor, leaving Jimmy and Stephen to settle their disagreement by having an ice-cream eating contest.

     Predictably, this did not go well, as they were both soon overtaken by brain freeze, and transported to a cartoonish Ben and Jerry-themed world. The actual Ben and Jerry appeared in a cloud to save them from a killer ice-cream cone, and the hosts sang a song of friendship, effectively ending the feud when they agreed to be BBFSM - Best Friends For Six Months (Colbert didn't want to commit to forever). The lyrics were sweet (sic), full of puns, and a bit dirty in one verse. At the end of his show, Colbert congratulated Jimmy for his flavor.

     OK, so obviously their feud was fake. A stunt for late night television. But what in late night is not a stunt? I don't care if their beef was settled in ten minutes. What is important is that two really funny late night hosts got together (three, with Stewart's appearance) and made something worth laughing at. Stewart and Colbert had previously done bits with Conan O'Brien, which were fantastic, so I was pleased to see a return to that intermingling. Besides, it's more fun when the guys involved are actually enjoying themselves, rather than really fighting.

     The ice-creams themselves actually sound pretty similar. Both have a vanilla base with caramel swirled in. Colbert's edition contains chocolate covered pieces of ice-cream cone, while Fallon's boasts chocolate covered clumps of potato chip. Fallon's is likely to be a bit more salty. I'll have to check it out.

     Either way, kudos to both men (and Stewart) for providing some quality entertainment. The Colbert Report airs Monday through Thursday at 11:30 p.m. ET on Comedy Central, while Late Night With Jimmy Fallon can be found weeknights at 12:30 a.m. ET on NBC.

Article first published as TV Review: Stephen Colbert Fueds With Jimmy Fallon on Blogcritics.

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