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This zany new 'Tonight Show' is just for kids

By Haben Kelati
Washington Post

A Silly String battle, a candy-covered set and barf jokes. The newest TV talk show puts almost all seriousness aside as it aims to attract young viewers. But "The Kids Tonight Show" is serious about involving young people. It isn't just for kids, it's also created by kids.

Children host and help write the show, which is a spinoff of "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon." The kids show features a joke-filled monologue, celebrity interviews, skits and games in 17-minute episodes. Fallon is an executive producer of the new show, which began Oct. 14 on Peacock.

The hosts - Recker Eans, Dylan Gilmer, Mykal-Michelle Harris and Olivia Perez - are excited to be onstage before a studio audience.

From left, Mykal-Michelle Harris, Olivia Perez, Dylan Gilmer and Recker Eans co-host "The Kids Tonight Show."

"They're all hyping us up," Dylan, who's 12, told KidsPost. "The crowd gives us a lot of energy, and we go out there with a lot of confidence and they're a big part of the show."

Recker, an 11-year-old musician, rocks out on drums to open the show. In the first episode, the hosts collaborated on the opening, introducing themselves and telling jokes.

"What's Beethoven's favorite fruit?" asks 9-year-old Mykal-Michelle, wearing a pink tutu. "Ba-na-na-naaaa," she belts out to the tune of the composer's Symphony Number 5.

The first guest was Fallon, who made his entrance down a slide into a ball pit. The star, known for silly humor on his own show, told a dad joke, answered a few interview questions and played a game that had his face and hair covered in Silly String.

Other guests are part of the kid-entertainment universe. Singer JoJo Siwa appears on the second show. TikTok sister stars Charliand Dixie D'Amelio and actor Tituss Burgess, a star of the upcoming TV movie "Annie Live!," are part of future shows. Two episodes will be shown on Thursdays through December.

Jimmy Fallon, center, is an executive producer of the spinoff of his show. The new show is co-written by children and features joke-filled monologues, celebrity interviews, skits and games,

The hosts were performers before signing on with "The Kids Tonight Show." Mykal-Michelle was on the ABC comedy "Mixed-ish," and Dylan stars in Nickelodeon's "Young Dylan." Olivia was in a Sesame Street episode this summer, and Recker plays drums for bands, including his own band, Twits.

Even though the kids had fun making the show, Olivia said there were challenges.

"The hardest part about it is, like, you don't want to talk at the same time, especially with four hosts," she said.

Viewers might get a few insights from guests during the interviews, but the skits and challenges are the most fun part of the show.

For example, Dylan, Mykal-Michelle, Olivia and Recker race Siwa, who has joined by video chat, to see who can get toilet paper off the roll fastest. You can't help but laugh and feel as if you're playing the game with them.

"I hope the takeaway is you can be big, you can be fun, you can be optimistic, and be yourself, and there's no one better than you," Mykal-Michelle said.

"The Kids Tonight Show"

Streaming on Peacock