Golden Globes host Jimmy Fallon was always going to have his work cut out for him, coming a year after headline-grabbing host Ricky Gervais and, before that, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

But with weak jokes, a botched opening and cringe-worthy celebrity impressions, Fallon's turn as Golden Globes host has left some viewers less than impressed.

After a strong pre-recorded intro video featuring cameos from a wealth of Hollywood A-listers, Fallon floundered almost the second he got on stage.

His teleprompter, he apologetically explained to the audience and the millions watching at home, hadn't kicked in.

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As he stumbled around the stage, Fallon seemed adrift, with no back-up plan to distract from the momentary technical glitch.

"I can do impressions, what do we do here!? ... Already you have your Golden Globes moment," he said.

At one point he begged the camera operators to cut to Justin Timberlake in the audience - perhaps he might be able to offer some impromptu entertainment? The camera operators didn't comply.

Mercifully, the teleprompter got up and running, but it was barely worth the wait.

Fallon mined the most obvious comedy vein of the past 12 months - Donald Trump - with a few choice gags.

With no teleprompter, Fallon begged the camera operators to cut away. Photo / Paul Drinkwater/NBC via AP
With no teleprompter, Fallon begged the camera operators to cut away. Photo / Paul Drinkwater/NBC via AP

He said Game of Thrones fans were wondering "what it would have been like if King Joffrey had lived ... well in 12 days we'll find out," referencing Trump's imminent inauguration. Speaking of the inauguration, he joked that even Florence Foster Jenkins wouldn't perform.

But he was upstaged by Brit Hugh Laurie, who dropped the night's best Trump joke during his acceptance speech.

Laurie said it was a thrill to accept an award at "the last ever Golden Globes - I don't mean to be gloomy, it's just the fact that it has the words 'Hollywood' 'Foreign' and 'Press' in the title," alluding to the notion that Trump isn't a fan of any of those three things.

And as many were keen to point out, Fallon making jokes about Trump's impending presidency seemed a bit rich seeing as the talk show host welcomed Trump onto his show during the election campaign for an affectionate, humanising interview that even had him patting the business tycoon on the head.

But it was Fallon's impression of African-American comedian Chris Rock that turned off viewers, with many instantly linking it to Michael Scott's painful Chris Rock impersonation on The Office.

So who did make us laugh? Presenters Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn provided some welcome light relief with their garbled monologue reading, but it was Fallon's fellow SNL alumnus Kristen Wiig and Michael Scott himself, Steve Carell, who scored the night's biggest laughs with their tragicomic presenting of Best Animated Film.

The pair agreed that going to the cinema to see your first animated film is an unforgettable moment in any child's life, before recounting their own memories.

For Carell, it was a childhood trip to see Fantasia with his father. His mother was waiting outside the cinema after the film, and announced she wanted a divorce. It was the last time Carell would ever see his father, he told us, perfectly stony-faced.

Wiig remembered seeing Bambi one fateful day in 1981 - a distraction, she explained, from the fact that her three - yes, three - dogs were being put down that day.

Her grandfather took her to the cinema. Later that day, he disappeared forever.

"He disappeared ... and I didn't speak for two years," she said.

Then, after a beat:

"And the nominees are ..."

Perfect. Wiig and Carell to host the 2018 Golden Globes: The campaign starts here.

Elsewhere, the jokes were somewhat light on the ground from Fallon - instead we were 'treated' to his beloved celebrity impressions. An off-key Sting impression while introducing the rock legend left many perplexed, including Fallon himself, who wondered aloud, "Why did I do that?"