Language analytics company Canvs found that Fallon’s sit-down with the Republican presidential candidate drew a massive emotional reaction on Twitter. The company, which analyzes social-media data from Nielsen, detected 22,152 emotional responses generated by Thursday evening’s “Tonight Show” — a reaction volume 627% higher than the average for previous season-three episodes of the late-night talker. Of all “Tonight” tweets captured by Nielsen on Thursday, 43% expressed some emotional response.
Of those emotional responses, 20.2% expressed “love,” with the number of “love” responses up 240% from the season-three average. But although it accounted for only 12.3% of all emotional responses, “hate” conquered “love” in terms of growth, with the “hate” reaction volume up 2,324% from the rest of season three.
Other emotional responses measured by Canvs were “good” (17% of responses; 752% increase from the season-three average volume), “dislike” (16% of responses; 2,708% volume increase), and “crazy” (6.3% of responses; 284% increase in volume).
Fallon has been widely derided for his softball interview with Trump, in which he failed to challenge the candidate on any of his recent outlandish statements. During the appearance, Fallon thanked Trump for providing the show with so much good material to crack jokes about, and engaged in a gag in which he mussed the candidate’s hair.
“If Trump becomes president, that image of Fallon ruffling Trump’s hair will be the moment when the tide turned,” Variety critic Sonia Saraiya wrote Friday. “The gesture was so affectionate and grandfatherly that Fallon provided Trump with a seal of mainstream approval that he does not deserve.”
Fallon is scheduled to interview Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton on Monday’s show.