I’m not the world’s biggest Jimmy Fallon fan, but give me a little Fallon / Timberlake on SNL and I’m probably laughing a lot. Give me The Tonight Dough and I’m probably eating more than I should. (Each serving is just 400 delicious calories!)
Anyway, despite the fact that Jimmy Fallon playing cards were not on my list, I picked them up on a quick trip to Target the other day (which might have been last year) and frankly have been pleasantly surprised. My first deck of TV themed cards set a surprisingly low bar, so I didn’t have a lot of optimism here.
However, this deck is highly playable and the roaring twenties art deco court cards are very nice. The deck is heavily branded toward Fallon and The Tonight Show, and it includes a lot of the customizations people like in premium deck. Gold printing on the tuck? ✅ Custom courts? ✅ Great texture and feel? ✅ Tuck seal? ✅. Theory11 has done a great job of appealing to the intersection of people who like nice cards and The Tonight Show. The only minor feature missing is the printing on the inside of the tuck.
There’s no indicator on the cards or the tuck as to which playing card house manufactured it. I suspect it’s USPCC, simply because there aren’t that many playing card printers capable of operating at the scale required for this kind of deck, and it does indicate it was made in the USA. Some other Theory 11 decks, the Union deck as an example, do specify USPCC, and the CEO of Theory11 is also an advisor to USPCC, so it seems very likely.
Anyway, where were we? Oh yeah.
You can buy Jimmy Fallon cards over on the Theory11 site for list price, or save 15% by buying a mixed brick, or pay more than double over on eBay. The choices!! But, alas, I didn’t find any for Johnny Carson or Carnac the Magnificent, which seems like a miss.
Theory 11’s business model seems both different and more sustainable than most of the producers whose decks I buy. With decks featuring Star Wars, SNL and James Bond, and distribution with Target, they have certainly signed some great licensing deals that help them create and sell a large number of great playing cards.
Side note: if you make something with the intent of it being collectible, is it actually collectible? And is the cost of having strictly limited no-reprint editions — the IP artists and producers take so long to create is out of circulation — worth it in the end?
Anyway the TL;DR: I probably wouldn’t pay $25 for them, but at just under $10, this is a great deck.