Saturday, May 30, 2009

Thoughts on Jay Leno

As my roomie and I were headed home Thursday evening after seeing Eric Bogosian I asked him if he was planning to watch Jay Leno's final turn as the host of The Tonight Show.

Christopher, who is a David Letterman fan, reminded me that Leno would be coming back in the fall to host essentially the same show only at 10 p.m. and not 11:30 p.m.

Leno wasn't saying goodbye but rather saying see you later.

When Johnny Carson said goodbye that was it. I still remember him singing tearfully with Bette Midler back in 1992.

Honestly, I don't think Leno is that funny. Certainly not as funny as he was in the early 1980s when he would appear on Letterman or even when he guest hosted for Carson. The last time I watched the show before last night was when President Obama appeared last March.

So I did watch last night but only the final ten minutes. So I didn't see his chat with his successor Conan O'Brien who will debut on Monday. But I did see James Taylor singing "Sweet Baby James." I also saw Leno's closing thoughts.

I liked what he had to say about the show's legacy under his watch. It wasn't about him but about his staff many of whom had married each other and had families. Leno lifted the curtain and gave the spotlight to his staff and their children. Sixty eight children in all.

If nothing else Leno is loyal to the people who work for him and they return that loyalty. I think that speaks well of him. His free shows for laid off workers in Michigan and Ohio certainly gave a respite to those who have fallen on hard times.

So he's a nice guy. He's just not that funny.

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