“Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon did his job well on Thursday, rolling out an impression of Beto O’Rourke that accurately captured his manic flailings and limited credentials.
The sketch was a direct parody of O’Rourke’s announcement video, although Fallon’s surprisingly keen mockery of his subject’s wild and incessant gesticulations barely amounts to an exaggeration. They really were that ridiculous.
At times, the impression felt soft (“I’m like if your friend’s hot dad had the energy of a golden retriever”), but Fallon brought it home with jabs about whippets in 7-11 parking lots, virtue-signaling Instagram polls, and a biting final line: “Are there more experienced candidates out there with clearer policy ideas? Sure,” his Beto concedes with a clueless smile.
The effect is an early depiction of O’Rourke as a lightweight, and a completely overzealous one at that.
Love him or hate him, Beto is one of the most objectively hilarious presidential hopefuls in recent memory. Comedians have years of material to work with. (I suggest starting with his beautifully introspective Medium account, but there’s also his name, his music, his gaffes, his self-importance, his oddly dispirited dog, his social media, his very naughty cursing, his edgy adult skateboarding, his sheep costume, and maybe some other stuff.)
The mountain of media hype preceding Beto’s run suggests there’s plenty of built-in love for him, which is funny enough in and of itself. But Fallon’s early willingness to throw some elbows, gentle as they were, suggests the O’Rourke candidacy may indeed be irresistibly mockable, even to left-of-center comedians.