Jimmy Fallon fills The Tonight Show with silly games and lighthearted guest banter – but there’s a darkness brewing behind the scenes. The show’s latest parody – “Jimpire,” a hilarious nod to Fox’s acclaimed music drama Empire – finds the host contemplating his options for a late-night successor, including Questlove, Tariq and a Cookie-styled Steve Higgins (“Higgy”).
The piece opens with Fallon walking back to his dressing room after an episode, revealing his true identity as “Juicy Jim,” with a haircut and clothes similar to Terrence Howard’s character, Lucious Lyon. “I’ve been tellin’ jokes since I was nine years old in Brooklyn,” Juicy tells his staff during a roundtable meeting. “It was these jokes, these funnies, these ‘ha ha’s, that kept me warm at night, growing up in the streets … It was jokes like these that made me the man I am today: Juicy Jim, head of the Tonight Show Jimpire.”
The bit plays up Fallon’s real-life finger injury, explaining that the host needs to secure his replacement in case his health turns for the worst. “Now, I might not be around forever, what with my finger being in the condition it is,” he says. “Who knows what could happen tomorrow? I could stub my toe. I could bite my tongue. I could burn the roof of my mouth on a hot microwave pizza.”
Drama ensues as Questlove and Tariq team up, impressing Juicy with their rap monologues. Howard shows up and threatens Juicy not to parody Empire. Higgy shows his ass and squares off with the real Cookie, Taraji P. Henson. And Questlove reveals a deep-burning secret: that he’s bald.
Ultimately Juicy hands over his “Jimpire” to an unlikely candidate: Donald Trump.