Although he’s always been less openly political than other late night hosts, Jimmy Fallon occasionally uses his platform to speak from the heart about issues that matter to him, and when he does, he usually forgoes the jokes. After the president’s disgraceful response to Charlottesville, for example, Fallon’s statement was comedy-free. (So was Seth Meyers’; Kimmel and Colbert, on the other hand, mixed their moral disgust with a little humor.) On Monday night—Fallon’s first full show after the Parkland shooting, because of NBC’s Olympics coverage—he went joke-free again while expressing his support for the Parkland teens. And not just support: Fallon; his wife, film producer Nancy Juvonen; and their two daughters will be joining the March For Our Lives organized by Parkland shooting survivor Cameron Kasky.
Fallon is not the first celebrity to support the March for Our Lives: George and Amal Clooney, Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw, Eli Broad, and Oprah Winfrey have all donated money and/or pledged to attend. And it’s not much of a mystery how the rest of late night feels about the Parkland shooting or the Republicans’ wildly inadequate response to it: Seth Meyers and Trevor Noah both roasted the hell out of Trump the same night as Fallon’s statement. But it’s rare for Fallon to use his bully pulpit to speak out at all, much less announce he will personally be participating in a political demonstration, and his joke-free approach underlines how out-of-the-ordinary this all is.
The March for Our Lives will happen in Washington, D.C., on March 24, with simultaneous events taking place in cities around the country. The goal—a comprehensive bill to reduce gun violence—would be ambitious even if Republicans didn’t control the House, Senate, and White House. Fortunately, the Parkland survivors aren’t particularly interested in what anyone else thinks is possible. Now Jimmy Fallon, too, is letting them lead the way.