Jay Leno accused of lifting joke from Fox News program

Some say that Jay Leno hit bottom during his failed primetime show and the subsequent Conan O’Brien imbroglio. Which is really saying something for someone who used to crack skulls with Pat Morita. But now, he’s being accused of stealing jokes. From Fox News.

On Saturday night’s Red Eye, a wee-hours Fox News show hosted by Greg Gutfeld, ombudsman Andy Levy pointed out that Leno had made a joke on Thursday night that used virtually the same set-up and punchline as one Levy said on the air earlier in the week. Both bits were pegged to the news in California that a court ruling would require the state to free thousands of inmates from its prisons, leading both joke tellers to mention how this was great news for the Oakland Raiders! Hey, now!

“Wow, Andy, I can’t believe you traveled to the future, stole that joke from Jay, then traveled back to tell it on Red Eye,” Gutfeld said. Levy, more amused than bitter, countered with, “I’m actually now getting word that Carlos Mencia came up with this joke next Tuesday.”

Obviously, recycling someone else’s jokes is a no-no, especially when you’re the host of The Tonight Show. It’s very possible, though, that no comic malfeasance was intended — Leno’s been mocking the Raiders and their fans for years — and that the similarities between the jokes was just a coincidence. (A call to The Tonight Show was not immediately returned.) But therein lies another problem for Leno and his writers, no disrespect to Red Eye‘s convivial ombudsman. I’m not sure this is a case of great comic minds thinking alike.

Does Leno owe Levy an apology? Or was this just a harmless coincidence? If it was, who told the joke better?

Comments (57 total) Add your comment
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  • Well well now

    Leno has been doing this for YEARS now. He’s stolen from Howard Stern and many others. About time this thief got caught up. More should be putting him on blast. F**k Leno!

    • Shannon

      Yeah, Stern is always carrying on how Leno has stolen material and even people (Jay’s announcer before the primetime fiasco was Howard’s “Stuttering John”) from him. Howard likes to complain and just plain hates Jay to the core, but it seems that Leno likes to steal.

    • KnownAlias

      Face it; if you’re paying attention to the details, Leno stole the entire Tonight Show format from Letterman, right down to the band leader banter.

      • lagitha

        Yep, and Carson and Severenson went into the future and stole it from Letterman, too.

      • Jeff

        It’s more accurate to say that Leno stole the format of his show, down the the style, from Letterman. Yes, Johnny has some banter with Doc but Doc was not in front, like Paul is with Dave – unless Ed wasn’t there.

  • Bob the Monk

    Leno has been stealing from howard stern for years. It’s about time he expanded his theft horizons to bring in more hard working comics.

  • DGH

    I think its safe to say Leno has ruined The Tonight Show name.

    • jul

      Yes indeedy.

  • Bob the Monk

    kudos well well. you are most wise and a faster typer than I.

    • Audrey

      Whatever, we all know you are just like Leno, copying other’s EW comment board quips!

  • Roger

    Leno has writers for his jokes. How could he know that the joke was swiped from Fox? It’s time to lay off Leno, he is a pro.

    • Ken

      “Leno has writers for his jokes”, as if he doesn’t participate. This is false, he continues to do a ton of stand up, he writes/steals a bunch of his own material. Even if THAT JOKE was written by someone else, then he needs to fire whoever stole the joke, since this has happened A LOT in the past. Maybe it was Stuttering John, he needs to be fired anyhow so he can focus on the Gotti movie.

    • Psac

      Leno’s standup stole jokes from 15 years ago. Saw him in 2009, and I thought I was going to see a comedy show, and instead saw a magic show. He made $100 per ticket disappear from my wallet. (har har, speaking of steaking old jokes…) Totally unfunny. Punch lines included “Geo Metro” and “Sister Act”. In 2009. They stopped making the Metro in 1994!!!

      • Psac

        Sorry, 1997.

  • JM3

    Jay has been stealing jokes and ideas for years. It’s old news at best.

  • Bob the Monk

    say roger. it looks like ,you’re using the tv listings, no for finding shows to watch. but for rolling doobies. If Leno is a pro. then I type faster than Well well….and, as you can see above. I don’t.

  • dade1715


  • sal

    neither joke is very funny so it doesn’t matter…the more obvious the joke the less surprising it is that someone else came up with it

    • mel

      “neither joke”
      But it’s the same joke, that’s the point.

  • Roger

    Well Bob the Monk, I was comparing Leno to Conan with that remark.

  • bmo

    leno been stealing jokes for years, Until leno is off the air, NBC will be a 4th place network,

    • mick

      So how do you explain then Leno being the #1 late night host. I’ve heard all the late night hosts Leno, Letterman, and Kimmel do basically the same joke many times in the past. So did they all steal it from each other.

      • Matty

        “So how do you explain then Leno being the #1 late night host.”

        Stupid people who appreciate unfunny and stale jokes. It’s the same reason Two and a Half Men is popular.

        Also, I don’t see Kimmel, Lettermen and Ferguson stealing jokes.

  • MelindaB

    Some jokes basically write themselves and numerous people will come up with them independently–I’ve told jokes about something that I’ve later heard someone else say, but that’s in my living room, not national TV. It doesn’t help Leno that he’s known for stealing jokes from others.

    • Shannon

      Yeah, and sometimes I can see punchlines from a mile away and I’ll just go right ahead and say them out loud before the host in question does. That being said, Jay’s shady track record does him no favors.

  • Mr. Holloway

    The funniest part is watching people fight over credit for such a lame, out-dated joke.

    • Casey

      The original guy who made the joke doesn’t seem to be fighting over it and Leno didn’t even acknowledge his theft.

  • Bob the Monk

    welll then I am the idiot. and I accept full responsiblity of my dopiness. I did not consider that man.

  • Well well now

    Haha Bob the Monk, my fingers are so fast…I see dust clouds when I type!! And yea Jay Leno has been doing this for many years. He’s like that guy at work that gets by on office politics alone and not much else. But the darkness always comes to light sooner or later. And I hope Howard Stern gets the most public and hardest laugh at that fool Leno when he finally goes down. Ha!

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