I’m not going to write an essay about the unintended consequences and problems of cancel culture, but let me just quickly say how both hilarious and awful this brief tv moment was. Jimmy Fallon, by all means a progressive, outspoken ally, and friendly person without a history of homophobic jokes unlike his peer Jimmy Kimmel, invited Ru Paul, the legendary drag queen and creator of the iconic Ru Paul’s Drag Race, onto his show and then possibly not just proverbially shat his pants on live tv when he thought he had mislabeled his guest’s profession, thus alienating large parts of the LGBTQ+ and drag scene.
For a brief second, Paul holds this man’s entire career in his hands, a single person’s reaction might create a social media wave that could trigger a quick the familiar succession of outrage, apology, and termination. As a wise poet once said: No one man should have all that power.
It’s an awful time we are living in. Of course, Paul is quick to clear things up, perhaps completely unaware of Fallon’s momentary anguish. Fallon’s reaction and visible fear is hilarious, as is his obvious relief – followed by his most honest laugh during his whole time at the Tonight Show – however only because Paul was feigning taking offense. It’s something to behold.