Culture

Jimmy Fallon Channels Bob Dylan To Remind The World Times Are Still A-Changin'

by Penn Collins

February 9, 2018

THE GOOD NEWS:

The famously apolitical Jimmy Fallon shows even he has his limits with a pointed (and very entertaining) update to a Bob Dylan classic.

 

In the run-up to the Trump presidency, and amid the tumultuous first few months, Jimmy Fallon was widely criticized for failing to speak out on the social issues that permeated the daily headlines. However, Fallon’s latest turn as Bob Dylan for an update of “The Times They Are A-Changin’” succeeds at speaking to the unrest of the 1960’s with today’s pressing crises. 

The idea for the video was Fallon’s. He was in Dylan’s home in Minnesota for the Super Bowl and had access to the Orpheum, a theater famously owned by Dylan decades ago. Previous Dylan parodies on the show suggested that the impersonation and the makeup wouldn’t be an issue — both have proven spot-on — but the lyrics of the updated song would need to serve as the crux of the statement. 

For that aspect of the performance, Fallon turned to his showrunner, Mike DiCenzo, a self-proclaimed Dylan aficionado and frequent collaborator of Fallon’s. Speaking to Variety, DiCenzo explained his approach to the task. 

“The message of the original song still kind of makes sense,” he said. “I just updated it with more specific references to all the stuff that’s been going on.”

Knowing that a visit to Minnesota was in the works for quite some time, DiCenzo wrote a draft of the lyrics late last year, but revised them in January to include references to the “Time’s Up” movement and the controversial release of the Trump expose “Fire and Fury.” 

The finished product, as shown above, is far more than just another Jimmy Fallon musical parody (of which there are many). Dylan’s brand of protest and outrage remain intact as Fallon and Co. take aim at contemporary targets, namely President Donald Trump. 

One stanza in the song offers: 

Come leaders who bully like internet trolls
We’ll curse you with four-letter words love and hope
For we will go high even when you go low
The order is rearranging
For you have the power, but we have the vote

Jimmy Fallon may not be able to shake his reputation as the giggling talk show host with this effort alone, but the well-crafted performance serves as a testament that even Fallon, and the “Tonight Show” team, have reached their limits with the state of the government. 

To see how Fallon’s version stacks up to Dylan’s folk-rock classic, the original protest anthem can be watched below. 

Share image via Tonight Show/YouTube.

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Jimmy Fallon Channels Bob Dylan To Remind The World Times Are Still A-Changin'