Monday, November 02, 2009


Jay Leno is someone who I've always admired even when I've been cool to his TV work. While the nightly monologue and various comedy bits play a little too often to the cheap seats, Leno is, by all accounts, an incredibly gracious and humble guy, and his nose-to-the-grindstone work ethic is an example anyone can learn from. His current situation provides ample evidence of both.

Even with a decade-plus reign as late night TV's undisputed ratings king hosting The Tonight Show, he seems to have been set up to fail by NBC with the current Jay Leno Show, airing weeknights during the 10 o'clock hour. The thinking behind the strip appears to have been motivated less by any artistic calling then by simple economics, not to mention keeping Leno from bolting to another network a la David Letterman fifteen years ago.

The resultant show is a weird hybrid of Leno's strongest Tonight bits (monologue, Headlines, etc.) and some new stuff that frankly needs to be either tweaked or tossed (I'm looking at you, Green Car Challenge). Still, even with his current show only firing at about 60-75% efficiency, I'm genuinely rooting for the guy to make it work and somehow pull it off against the admittedly high odds. This interview is one of the reasons why.

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