This weekend, the Tonight Show posted a video on YouTube in which host Jimmy Fallon challenged some of NASCAR’s best drivers to a game of Mario Kart. Ahead of today’s final Sprint Cup race of the season, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano went head-to-head to see who would face the Fallon in a attempt to dethrone the late night comedian.
The ensemble of bros in blazers playing video games next to an animal skull concluded with an finicky HDMI input bringing about a last moment upset. While it wasn’t necessarily the most exciting showcase of Mario Karting prowess it was a pretty good ad for men’s watches.
This isn’t the first time Fallon has put Nintendo’s racing series front-and-center on his show by any stretch. In fact, you might go so far as to say the former SNL star is obsessed with it, especially Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U.
Here’s Fallon discovering that fashion writer and actress Tavi Gevinson also loves Mario Kart. And here he is talking about losing at Mario Kart 8 to Michael Cera after throwing his game off by choosing Yoshi when he usually mains Bowser. Fallon does not like to be beat.
Of course, Fallon is no stranger to video games in general, embedding commercials for them as demos or comedy bits during the middle of his show. Here he is trying to make Kinect look fun, and here he is watching Ice-T kick augmented reality robots. But his relationship to Nintendo is clearly different, at least according to the number of times he and Reggie Fils-Aimé have awkwardly palled around on stage.
But his love of Mario Kart 8 clearly exists on a higher plane. Who could forget when Fallon and Selena Gomez sang a cover of the Mario Love Song together? Or that time he challenged UFC fighter Rounda Rousey to a race? “I mopped the floor with you,” he told her the next time she appeared on his show. Gracious man that he is, Fallon promised her a rematch when she was healed up from her most recent fight.
Even Nintendo has taken to teasing Fallon about his obsession.
Whatever strange secrets animate the funny man, his love of Mario Kart 8 isn’t among them. He’s happy to champion the game’s greatness far and wide to any guest celebrity who will listen. For a great game on an abandoned platform, Mario Kart 8 needs all the stalwart allies it can get. It seems like forever ago that everyone was in love with the game’s hottest meme. Now, perhaps Nintendo’s most scientifically perfect entry in the series lies mostly forgotten on an island of misfit games called the Wii U.
It’s unfortunate than that he lost to pro driver Joey “Sliced Bread” Logano. While Logano could go on to win the Sprint Cup championship in today’s race, Fallon will be left to lick his wounds, no doubt nervously refreshing NeoGAF in hopes that details about the next Mario Kart game will leak out soon.