ICYMI: Jimmy Fallon Ruthlessly Mocked Man-Child Ryan Lochte In VMA Sketch

If Jimmy Fallon is appearing at your awards show, one thing is for sure: you’re getting a topical comedy sketch. At this year’s MTV Video Music Awards Sunday night, Fallon took the stage dressed as Ryan Lochte, wearing a fake silver medal, Team USA jacket, and of course Lochte’s signature anime-character-esque hairstyle. His entrance was received with shouts of Lochte’s catchphrase “Jeah!” from the audience, and a surprised Michael Phelps even whipped out his phone to film the event.

The shtick was a response to the scandal surrounding Lochte’s mostly fake story about getting robbed at gunpoint in Rio during the 2016 Olympics. The silver-medalist swimmer claimed he’d been mugged by 12 men pretending to be police officers, but it soon emerged that he’d basically made up the part about the robbery along with other major points of the story. Despite the International Olympic Committee stating that sporting institutions and legal authorities “should give these kids a break” (for reference, Lochte is 32 years old), Lochte was charged with falsely reporting a crime by Brazilian authorities and dropped from endorsement deals by Ralph Lauren and Speedo.

Fallon entered the VMAs in a haze of smoke, doing what I guess was meant to be an impression of how Lochte walks. Once on stage, he opened his speech by singing, “Is it too late to say sorry?” referring both to the Justin Bieber hit and Lochte’s half-assed apology to the public for his actions.

To reflect Lochte’s on-again, off-again relationship with the truth, Fallon then introduced the ceremony’s big award, Video of the Year, by claiming to have written and directed all of the nominated songs and videos. “I’m the one who gave Adele that flip phone,” he claimed, adding, “I had a 30-way with Kanye West.” He also pretended to be unable to pick a winner, in terms that referenced the fake robbery story: “I couldn’t tell you even if there was a gun to my head. Which there isn’t, but I still couldn’t choose.” (Beyoncé won for “Formation,” in case you were wondering.)

But here’s the big question Fallon’s parody failed to answer: if you’re making fun of Lochte, why would you not do the voice? The man’s unique voice and general demeanor are what makes him so, well, mockable. Remember that episode of 30 Rock where he had a cameo as an heiress’ hot “sex idiot”? It’s the voice that does it.

Then again, maybe Fallon — who, with the best will in the world, is not exactly a gifted impressionist — was trying to do the voice but just couldn’t make it work. Just slap on a wig and a costume, throw in some references to current events, and everything’s good to go. Besides, it would be difficult for anyone to create comedy more ridiculous than what Lochte’s already created for himself.