President Obama’s first appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon was focused on two things: Obama’s legacy and the 2016 election. Even the recurring sketches that they did reinforced this: Slow Jam the News was all about the things Obama has accomplished during his time in office (and was also a callback to when he first slow jammed the news on Jimmy’s old show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon), and Thank You Notes obviously gave the president a chance to look back at his time in office.
Jimmy also spent some time chatting with President Obama, and the focus of their chat was largely on the 2016 election. He talked about what he thought of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders (the segment was taped on Wednesday, before Obama officially endorsed Hillary on Thursday), as well as the state of the Republican party. He wasn’t able to totally resist going for the easy Trump jokes, but he also turned a bit serious and talked about how it’s important for American democracy to have a functioning two party system. Jimmy’s not exactly a great political interviewer, but he pretty much sat back and let Obama say what he wanted to say, which we’re sure was the whole point.
But of course, they talked about lighter things too. Obama talked about some of the awkwardness behind the fact that he was going to be staying in Washington, D.C. after he leaves the White House, likening it to the “old guy at the disco”.
And naturally, Jimmy was super awkward when he met the president for the first time. Jimmy was asked to perform at a 4th of July barbecue at the White House and showed up a little bit over-dressed. Obama’s response to him was perfect.