'The Tonight Show' got Minnesota's money, because life is unfair

Pictured: Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon. Not pictured: The vitamin water and dinner you helped pay for.

Pictured: Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon. Not pictured: The vitamin water and dinner you helped pay for. Andrew Lipovsky/NBC

And here you thought the most annoying thing about Jimmy Fallon was literally every single thing Jimmy Fallon does.

He's bad at television, at interviewing would-be dictators -- advice: don't just yuck it up and rub their heads; they like that -- at not laughing through his own skits on Saturday Night Live, at making "music"... hell, he's even bad at co-starring in movies with Queen Latifah. 

Guess what? This morning brings one more reason to dislike our talent-challenged national treasure. You, Minnesotan, paid a little for his show to film here last year. 

Tons of celebrities and otherwise rich, famous, or physically attractive Americans came to Minneapolis for the 2018 Super Bowl. Many demanded high sums for even being seen in such a cold, glamour-less place, even for a few minutes. 

NBC's needs were even greater: As reported by Minnesota Public Radio, the network insisted Minnesota offer it a rebate for relocating Fallon's show to the Twin Cities during Super Bowl week. Said rebate, commonly referred to by its cutesy nickname "Snowbate," is supposed to entice movie producers (or, even better, masters of television) to film in Minnesota instead of Hollywood or Vancouver. 

You paid $267,000 for Jimmy to film at the Orpheum Theater, Minnesotans, and for the most part the people involved in that decision either think it's just fine or don't want to talk about it.

This paragraph in MPR's story is upsetting:

At first blush, film board staff told Fallon's crew their "talk show" wouldn't qualify under a plainly worded section of Minnesota law. But that changed after the highly rated late-night program was ultimately classified as a "variety show" that would fit the confines of state law.

This one, which reveals we've got a generosity toward millionaires you can't find in Arizona, is worse:

In 2015, Fallon took the program to Phoenix for a broadcast the night that city hosted the big game. Arizona didn't have an active TV and film industry tax incentive program.

And this one might just be enough to start The Revolution:

Also in the mix were lots of food tabs, including a $139.50 dinner for musician Justin Timberlake and $45 for vitamin water for the pop star, who also performed during the Super Bowl's half-time show.

Mad yet? Here's another couple sentences, these from a Minneapolis-St. Paul story about Jimmy's short-lived, less-than-glorious, not-memorable, profitable-for-him-and-Justin-Timberlake run here:

Scoring a ticket when they were released to the public (and gone in a hot second) back in December was only the first step: You had to show up in person Sunday morning to actually claim them. Some unfortunate people stood in line for up to four hours in the cold and didn’t get tickets at all because they overbooked, which is typical for TV shows.

There's talk of reforming the Snowbate program, even from Melodie Bahan, executive director of the Minnesota Film and TV Board, which had some internal debate over whether Fallon's show should even be eligible for the rebate. Bahan admits we haven't seen much of a boost in entertainment spending since Fallon's appearance, but thinks that's because we don't have "a tax credit or a large enough rebate incentive."


When questioned, those in the know will inevitably point out that such incentives are routine in the entertainment industry, which expects -- nay, demands -- such financial fellating, while those who are furious about the state of capitalism in America will point out that's part of The Problem. 

Outside Donald Trump's thoughtless abuse of the American military and his son-in-law's suits, we cannot think of a worse way to spend public money than helping Justin Timberlake get vitamin water.

Taxpayers should be pissed about this, and about the news that not one member of the Minnesota Film and Television Board emailed colleagues said at the time or has since issued a statement to state for the record that anything featuring Jimmy Fallon is unwatchable.