Sarah Haskins declares Twitter war on Jimmy Fallon

Check out this latest bit, Target Demographic, from Jimmy Fallon:

Seem a little familiar? Well, we’re not the only ones who noticed. Sarah Haskins, of Target Women fame, has declared twitter war on Jimmy Fallon. (I would imagine not just for robbing her idea, but for making it significantly less funny to boot.)

The comments over at the video are already calling him out, and I imagine he’s getting it on Twitter as well, but he has yet to tweet back…

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  1. norbizness
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    I tried drawing the line with cell phones, and with facebook, but goddamn it I fucking mean it this time: I have written a living will that stipulates that anyone may put me down with extreme prejudice if I start Tweeterittering.

  2. edward_wunderkind
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Well, and I thought that I liked Jimmy Fallon. Dammit.

  3. noctuidae
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss it, even Stephen Fry is twittering (as is Alan Davies!) :D

  4. mk
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    At least when I checked yesterday, Twitter was mostly full of tweeps congratulating him on the show–the comments on the video are much more strongly skewed toward Haskins fans. (And rightly so!)
    [And just as an aside--aside from hilarious wars, Twitter is, in my opinion, a phenomenal professional tool. I can respect your position, norbizness, and I certainly waste my share of time on other social networking sites, but I find that my primary use of Twitter is actually work-related.]

  5. AlmostAmanda
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    I always wondered what an unfunny, boring Target Women would be like. Now I know. Even if it wasn’t a total ripoff, it would still suck. Fallon should be ashamed.

  6. hoolissa
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    honestly, besides the title, i don’t really see much copying…
    what is twitter? all i know about twitter is that republicans often misuse it and ruin their careers…

  7. norbizness
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    That could be any Stephen Fry.

  8. Destra
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    I see no copying here. Why is everyone up in arms about this?
    Doing a series of segments about different target demographics or stereotypes in advertising is hardly solely owned by Haskins. It’s been done before Haskins, and it’ll be done after her.
    Fallon’s video has none of the characteristic style that Haskins uses: the video clips, the pop up commentary, the skits in between videos. The Fallon video was more a commentary about the portrayal of this idealized Aryan mother with a slideshow running in the background.
    Lay off the man, he’s bringing awareness of the insulting stereotypes of women to national television, and pointing out how absurd they are.

  9. Shinobi
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    So, I’d really like to tell Jimmy Fallon where to stick it, but I don’t believe in Twitter. (People are boring enough when I have to talk to them in day to day life. Hearing the inane thoughts of people who aren’t even vaguely interesting? uhm. Pass.)
    Perhaps an angry note will suffice.
    Obviously Jimmy is not the first person to make a segment about targeted marketing. (I’m sure the Daily Show has some as well.) But the title is a little… uhm… sketchy, and the fact that he picked women to focus on. Well it just seems to me like they are trying to capitalize on this great idea that some chick on the web had, except doing it in a totally lame and un funny way.
    No me likey.

  10. mk
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Hoolissa, Twitter is a messaging service that lets you post updates in 140 characters or less from the web or a mobile device. It’s a little bit hard to explain if you’ve never checked it out, but I recommend Deanna Zandt’s recent posts, Why Twitter, anyways? and A non-fanatical beginner’s guide to Twitter.

  11. leighv
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I see no copying, either.
    And honestly, I really doubt Jimmy Fallon is even *aware* that “Target Women” exists.
    I applaud him for not tweeting back to “Hey Jimmy Fallon, call me when you want to give me my idea back.” A tad juvenile, in my opinion.

  12. mk
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Shinobi, you wouldn’t have to listen to anyone’s thoughts if you didn’t want to–like any other social networking service, you follow (receive updates from) only the users you choose. I follow mostly people I know in real life, plus a handful of blogs (like Feministe), Barack Obama, and a couple of news outlets (mainly so I can easily keep up with Red Sox news).

  13. meganlynnrooney
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Little thief! And it wasn’t even good. The Late Night/ NBC ppl should feature Sarah’s originals.

  14. maja_dren
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    I just watched the Fallon video. Personally, I think there IS an eerie similarity, as if the writers saw Sarah’s stuff, realised people thought it was funny and tried to copy it. Badly. In an unfunny way.
    Frankly, unlike Sarah’s work where I know for sure she’s making fun of the media hype and wrong-thinking that’s driving the advertising of her target, with Fallon, I’m really not so sure. To me, the Fallon piece felt condescending, unfunny, and offensive really. I was left unconvinced he was making fun of anything other than women.

  15. meganlynnrooney
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    well said maja dren…

  16. Okra
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    He is most likely unaware, but his writers are most likely very aware. It’s their job to be up on what’s current in comedy.
    I don’t think anyone is suggesting that Jimmy Fallon himself sits down at his laptop to view Target Women. All of the night time talk shows are heavily scripted by a team of writers (usually European-American men between the ages of 25 and 45).

  17. AnUnfunnyFeminist
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Is Conan back yet?

  18. nightingale
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Wow, that was horrendously unfunny. And not just because it was vaguely offensive.

  19. 1:32:45
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Oh wow. Could it be any less funny? I agree with Maja Dren – Sarah’s routines are clever and subversive, and this just repeats stereotypes about women. There’s nothing really funny about saying “moms buy minivans and yogurt” but it IS funny when Sarah Haskins mocks advertising campaigns trying to sell yogurt.

  20. Shinobi
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    So what’s the point again? if I’m not going to sign up to listen to anyone else and I’m not egotistical enough to believe that other people are interested in my breif thoughts on whatever is happening at the moment?
    The point is nothing. If I want to communicate with people I know I will IM or text them, and have, y’know, an actual conversation. This seems more sensible to me than broadcasting my thoughts in public and them broadcasting theirs back at me.

  21. medea
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    I was less offended by the plagarism than I was by the abysmally complete lack of humour.

  22. sheis
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    ahh soo boring!!!!!!!
    as if he even tried to rip her off.
    major FAIL
    …it bothered me that there were people giggling frantically in the audience… how was any of that funny?

  23. sheis
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    same here!!!

  24. mk
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    I guess I don’t see it as all that fundamentally different from, say, commenting on a blog post, at least in terms of having a public presence on the internet. (And actually my updates are protected, meaning only the people I approve will read them.)
    As for comparisons with texts or IMs, I’ve experienced Twitter more as a larger group interaction. I tweet back and forth with a lot of other YA library folks, and we tend to share links, get advice, bounce ideas off each other… Sure, this could be accomplished via text message or IM. But this way no one else has to know my email address or phone number or anything like that, and we don’t all have to be online at the same time.
    I think “an actual conversation” is pretty subjective at this point–are you and I having a conversation now? I’ve had some great conversations via Twitter, and I don’t think they’re any less valid than conversations I’ve had via email or face to face.
    I guess I just find this very reminiscent of people (including myself) thinking “blogging” was some crazy self-centered fad that would pass. I encourage anyone who’s curious about Twitter to check out Deanna’s posts (linked above).

  25. mk
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    The war also made it to the NY Magazine Vulture blog and Jezebel.

  26. Gopher
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    I didnt know Fallon had his own talk show. Wow, does he suck. I didnt even know he was still in the business. Yeah, I agree, his segment sucked and the whole segment seems to have arose from copying Sarah’s. I re-watch her episodes because I can’t stop laughing. If anything, she should have her own talk show. At least, I definitely think she ought to be a bigger presence in the media. Her show is innovative and illuminating. Thats something the entertainment industry superbly needs today. I do think someone mimicked her, perhaps the writers?

  27. Gopher
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    “…it bothered me that there were people giggling frantically in the audience… how was any of that funny?”
    Because theyre idiots.

  28. defenderofpants
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    he forgot to make it funny.

  29. feministabroad
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 2:02 pm | Permalink


  30. feministabroad
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    That was not funny at all. I was waiting on it, but it just…didn’t come.
    I don’t like Jimmy Fallon. I never have. Who was the guy that did that mango skit on snl? Was it mango? Something like that. He was much funnier. Does anyone know what I am talking about? lol

  31. norbizness
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    The rubber-faced Chris Kattan (sp), the shorter of the two Roxbury brothers. Fallon is famous for breaking up, smirking, giggling, involuntarily pissing his pants, and blowing milk out of his nose in 99.7% of the sketches or Weekend Update stories he was involved with at SNL.

  32. borrow_tunnel
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    I have to disagree. I don’t know if I like him as a talk show host (yet) but I’ll never like him as well as Conan O’Brien. Conando has been incorporating demographics into his show for a long time — before Sarah Haskins. He’s always like “We have a big audience of college students — young people love us. But we really want to reach out to the geriatric crowd, so right now we’re going to ________(skit with older people).” I think Jimmy Fallon probably just looks up to Conan. A lot of hosts have imitated his style. Carson tries but he just doesn’t have the guts to just go all out and be silly like Conan.

  33. leighv
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Right, I’m aware of the process of writing comedy shows, particularly late-night shows, and that they generally have large teams of writers.
    However, I think that just goes to prove my point that the “twitter war” is ridiculous and unnecessary. Late Night with Jimmy Fallon has its own blog – I think Sarah Haskins would do much better sending his blog writers an email about this instead of calling him out via a social networking site.

  34. SanitasNo79
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Would you be able to cite a specific example of this kind of joke being done before Haskins?
    I think what riles people is that most noticeably, Fallon’s skit copies the *form* of Haskins’ yet loses some of its punch. Instead of taking a largely unquestioned subject (love, diamonds, vampire-crushes), and extracting the stereotypes about women, Fallon’s version merely re-presents well known stereotypes (mothers like to clean, shop, etc.). The humor in Haskins’ version comes from her critique about the assumptions made in the advertisements. There is no such critique in Fallon’s skit (which is sadly expected from most tv), merely reproduction.

  35. Deanna Zandt
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    just popping my head in to say thanks for the shoutouts to the guides. anyone still wanting to have this conversation, btw, is welcome to have it over on my posts so as not to continue the derail, but get questions answered. :-)

  36. Kat
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    I think the video does a poor job highlighting or challenging stereotypes, if it was intended to do so. To do that, it would need to include some actual commentary or make the make the ideas it’s presenting seem more absurd. “Blondes are prettier than brunettes” and “blond hair is like sunshine” don’t seem to pack any sort of punch or commentary. The whole segment is pretty half assed and I wouldn’t praise it as an example of humor as commentary. Honestly, it’s barely humorous.

  37. allegra
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, I watched Jimmy Fallon’s show last night and it was pretty lame.
    And what was up with all the stupid ads for his show the past couple weeks involving him setting women (Rachael Ray) on fire while they were cooking or dropping things on women’s heads? I was like … yeah, wow, watching women “accidentically” inflicted with pain is so hilarious. Ha. Ha ha.

  38. mk
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t seen those ads, but that sounds eerily reminiscent of a sketch from Mr. Show (which I actually can’t watch again, because it makes me so uncomfortable; it’s really just abuse for laffs).

  39. Misspelled
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    It’s definitely him. He’s talked about it in interviews, it’s linked to from his website, he uploads pictures of himself… either it’s him or the real Stephen Fry is being held in an impenetrable lair by Twitter-loving supervillains while his virtual projection is shopped around to do their evil bidding.

  40. AlmostAmanda
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    Possibly, but you have to remember that it’s also good for her career to get her name out there. With an e-mail, she’d probably get a brush off or a form letter from the production company’s attorneys. This way, she’s more likely to get a response from Fallon’s team and also draw attention to Current and Target Women. Fallon’s team gets an idea of how many people agree that he ripped her off, and may decide to give her credit or an opportunity to be on the show and promote Current as an apology.

  41. edward_wunderkind
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    What happened to all the comments on the video?

  42. llevinso
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, all I remember about Fallon from SNL was that in each skit he was in he couldn’t keep a straight face. He kept laughing at his own jokes…and they weren’t even funny. Same problem here!
    I never thought Fallon was funny and this wasn’t funny either. Too bad, I loved Conan.

  43. Posted March 4, 2009 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    I just checked the NBC link a minute ago. Under “USER COMMENTS” it simply reads “No comments yet.”

  44. edward_wunderkind
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, I had the same problem. They were there before, a bunch in fact, promoting Sarah Haskins.

  45. Maeve
    Posted March 5, 2009 at 12:33 am | Permalink

    Not only that, I always felt like he was copying Adam Sandler whenever he had his guitar and sang parodies, and pretty much every skit he was in. Sometimes Jimmy Fallon is funny, but most of the time he just seemed like he was trying too hard to be the next Adam Sandler, and he almost always failed.
    Oh and Mango freaking rocked! I was sad that Chris Kattan didn’t do as well after SNL as Will Ferrell did. I actually thought he was funnier. Same with Ana Gastier(sp?) and Molly Shannon. I thought Ana was much funnier, but Molly’s the one with the movie career.

  46. hopita
    Posted March 5, 2009 at 1:34 am | Permalink

    I was wondering the same thing …

  47. Destra
    Posted March 5, 2009 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Dude, who said that Fallon’s team did a good job? I’m just saying that it wasn’t copied.
    Look, the video touches upon stereotypes that you see in advertising all the time, the blonde mom. She’s dressed conservatively. She’s upper middle class. She drives mini-vans. She eats yogurt. She cleans and deals with the kids. And then to get their comedy aspect, they start talking about other things that are stereotypical about blonde, upper-middle class women that are not seen directly in ads. The personalized checks, the not-really daring tattoo, the unstable emotions. There’s lots there.

  48. Destra
    Posted March 5, 2009 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Would you be able to cite a specific example of this kind of joke being done before Haskins?
    I dug up a few examples, though I worry that you’ll see then and say: “Ha! They’re not exactly like Fallon/Haskins and therefore your argument falls through!” So I’ll just say instead:
    …Fallon’s skit copies the *form* of Haskins’ yet loses some of its punch.
    But it doesn’t. As I mentioned above, all of the quintessential Haskins’s traits are missing in this video. The oh so very vague idea of “a voice over about a particular ad stereotype/demographic with a humorous over portrayal of such” is a copyable thing.
    …Fallon’s version merely re-presents well known stereotypes (mothers like to clean, shop, etc.).
    Hey, I didn’t say Fallon’s skit was good or funny, just that it wasn’t a copy. I’m a huge fan of Haskins (I make my fiance stop whatever he’s doing to watch each new Target: Women), and I’ll gladly say that her stuff is FAR superior to Fallon’s. Fallon’s piece doesn’t reinforce any stereotype, but draws attention to it’s presence-which is a GOOD thing, even if it wasn’t as well done.

  49. Kat
    Posted March 5, 2009 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    You said he pointed out how absurd stereotypes are. I disagree. The skit merely lists a large number of stereotypes, which you also listed. However, it seems to me that those traits are what we are supposed to find funny not the fact that they are streotypical.

  50. Danyell
    Posted March 9, 2009 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Look..Jimmy Fallon is not, can not, will not and has never been funny.
    He gets by being “cute” (some people seem to think) and I guess some people like that he can’t get through a damn skit without laughing. He wanted so bad to be the next Adam Sandler. But I think having one is more than enough.
    How he can get famous is beyond me.
    But its probably that just his writers stole this bit and not him personally. He *may* not have been aware of Sarah. OR, he totally ripped it off on purpose. Either way. Ha ha. It’s pretty clear this is not original.
    Could have found a WORSE person to fill Conan’s slot? Now that man is a genius.
    So in conclusion: Jimmy Fallon sucks.

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