Tonight, when Jimmy Fallon takes over The Tonight Show, it may sound woefully out-of-date to suggest that he in any way wants to be, or should be, or is going to be “the new Johnny Carson.” The very phrase reeks of Vegas mothballs. Over the last two decades, starting with the moment when Jay Leno launched his Attack Of The Nice Guy blandified makeover, The Tonight Show has effectively been de-Johnny-fied, and Fallon, who is 24 years younger than Leno (and would be 49 years younger than Carson if Carson were still alive), represents a brand new generation — or maybe I should say a new-brand generation — in the dominance of late night. The amazing freshness of Fallon’s appeal is that he’s looking forward, not back. READ FULL STORY
Tag: Jay Leno (1-10 of 77)
Jay Leno said goodbye to The Tonight Show for the second time in his career on Thursday. Gone for good? So he joked. “I don’t need to be fired three times! I get the hint!” And so he wept, during his most personal — and arguably best — moment of his 22-year run as the custodian of the hallowed late night institution. “It really is time for me to go and hand it off to the next guy.” His last hour was a pretty good one, highlighted by the pure-pop moment of Billy Crystal bringing out a bunch of stars — Jack Black, Jim Parsons, Carol Burnett, Oprah Winfrey — for a snarky-funny ribbing of NBC for wanting Leno gone, or as the comedian put it earlier this week, in his sarcastic, self-serving way, “dead.” But those minutes, with Leno breaking down at his desk, were undeniably powerful. “This is tricky,” he said as he recalled how he lost his mother, father, and brother during the first three years of hosting The Tonight Show, and how the show and his work filled the void of a man suddenly without family, save for his wife of 34 years, Mavis. “This has been the greatest 22 years of life.”
It was a powerful exit for a man who loved his job and loves to work, perhaps too much, and who served his network faithfully if not always well, and vice versa. As affecting as Leno’s last bow might have been, the episodes that preceded the finale this past week represented a convincing argument that NBC needs a new suit sitting behind the desk, and a whole new creative sensibility in general.
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Jay Leno has left The Tonight Show, but Jay Leno is not finished being Jay Leno. The host may have waved his second final goodbye to the NBC late-night institution this week. But we all know he’s not finished. When Johnny Carson left The Tonight Show, he effectively left pop culture. It’s impossible to imagine an inveterate workaholic like Leno hasn’t already considered several post-Tonight options. But what’s his best bet? Let’s run down the most likely and most awesome possibilities — and then take a vote, because this is America.
Go to CNN. The most popular theory holds that Leno will join his former NBC boss Jeff Zucker at the ratings-challenged news network, hosting some kind of show in primetime or late-night. Given that CNN is still nominally a serious-news network, such a move would probably reboot Leno less as a comedian and more as a Larry King-esque interviewer. A possible happy side effect of the CNN option: Leno could take over Piers Morgan’s 9 p.m. slot. Because whatever you think about Leno, we can all agree that he’s more likable than Piers Morgan. (Which, admittedly, could be said about everyone.) READ FULL STORY
Thursday night, the late night world said goodbye to Jay Leno as his final episode as host of the Tonight Show aired. Some took the opportunity to get one final Leno joke off their chest (guess who that was?), while others pushed their past issues with Leno aside and offered their congratulations. See what Leno’s peers had to say: READ FULL STORY
Jay Leno fought back tears as he said goodbye to the Tonight Show 22 years after taking over the show from Johnny Carson. “It really is time to go and hand it off to the next guy,” he said, before evoking the farewell words of his predecessor. “I bid you all a heartfelt goodbye.”
Leno expressed his appreciation for his loyal audience and the crew he worked with for more than two decades. “The first year of the show, I lost my mom. The second year, I lost my dad,” he said. “Then my brother died and after that I was pretty much out of family… and the folks here became my family.”
Watch EW’s coverage below: READ FULL STORY
Over the years, a lot (a lot) of famous people have hated on Jay Leno. Sandra Bullock, however, has always been a fan — and she told the Tonight Show staple as much Wednesday, during Leno’s penultimate episode as host.
“You’ve always been so kind,” the Oscar winner told the comedian as tears began to well up. “You were always so welcoming and every single person on your crew was that way consistently, and I just felt special even when I felt very insecure. And everyone, I think, in this room and in this country, has felt that every day that you’ve been in their homes. I’m so grateful that I got to be a part of this.”
Watch the moment in our highlight video below — and keep a box of tissues handy, just in case.
Fact #1: Jay Leno has been the most popular late night host in America for the majority of the past 19 years.
Fact #2: Comedians, Hollywood insiders, and laypeople alike just love hating on Leno, and have been doing so consistently for over 20 years.
Why? In their minds, the reasons are legion: Because he stole The Tonight Show from Johnny Carson’s rightful heir, David Letterman, way back in the early ’90s. Because he refused to simply retire when NBC tried to replace him with Conan O’Brien in 2009. Because his primetime Jay Leno Show tanked, sinking Conan’s Tonight Show before it had even really begun — and eventually forcing Conan to leave NBC for good. And most of all, because they say his jokes are broad, pandering, and eminently unfunny — which is a shame particularly because once upon a time, Leno had a reputation for being one of standup’s sharpest and edgiest comedians.
So as Leno prepares for his final few Tonight Shows, he finds himself in a unique position: More widely watched than any of his competitors, yet widely reviled by the majority of his peers. How widely, you ask? Let’s take a look back at the most notable jabs, slights, and straight-up insults famous people have aimed at Leno over the years — starting shortly after NBC revealed that he, rather than Letterman, would become Tonight‘s next host. (Insert “Jay takes it on the chin” joke here.)
Lots of folks in the comedy community make a habit of giving Jay Leno a hard time — but Jimmy Fallon isn’t one of them. Even during the Great Tonight Dust-Up of 2010, Fallon refused to jump on the anti-Leno bandwagon, preferring instead not to take sides — and to assure his audience that he was just “happy to have a job.” (Granted, unlike Jimmy Kimmel or David Letterman, Fallon was working for the same network as Leno and Conan O’Brien — so it’s easy to understand why he’d want to take a neutral stance.)
And even now, mere weeks before Fallon is set to inherit Leno’s on-again, off-again late night throne, he’s still erring toward humble and gracious. As a guest on Leno’s fourth-to-last Tonight Show ever Monday, Fallon feted his predecessor as ”the nicest guy in the business” — before launching into a “thank-you note” bit that celebrated Jay.
Miley Cyrus has some advice for Justin Bieber: Stay home when you want to party!
Cyrus appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last night, and Leno asked her about Bieber’s recent legal troubles. Cyrus voiced what many people have thought: Doesn’t he have people he can pay to make sure he stays out of trouble? Barring that, “Party at your house. Buy a house, and add a club to it,” she said to audience cheers.
That must be what Cyrus is doing post-salvia scandal in 2010 (a simpler time!). Noting she’s seen compilations of celebrity mug shots online, she points out that for all the scandalous headlines she generates, “I don’t see a Miley mug shot yet!”
“I get the most flack of anybody,” she said. “I’m not doing anything illegal. I’m doing a lot of s—, but I’m not doing anything illegal. Everything I do is legal in California.”
Watch below: READ FULL STORY
Jay Leno’s blitz of interviews in advance of his mandatory retirement from The Tonight Show reminds us that a graceful exit is hard to do — especially when people won’t let you.
Anyone expecting or wanting some sour chin music from the iconic comedian during his much-hyped appearance on Sunday’s 60 Minutes was probably disappointed. But it was tart enough, thanks to Steve Kroft’s decision to cast Leno’s story as a cultural flashpoint for a seismic generational shift, with aging baby boomers ceding/losing power to their kids and grandkids. CBS never accused NBC of ageism, but it used some choice factoids and soundbites from Leno to suggest that the network wasn’t doing right by its good and faithful servant, still the No. 1 player in late night. Following an intro in which Kroft cited research showing Leno to be the fifth most popular personality on TV and pitched his twilight-of-the-boomers premise, the piece proper began with Leno — jokingly — telling the story that he says he tells any newbie in the business, that the reason why showbiz pays so well is because “eventually, you are going to get screwed. That’s the way it works… That’s the way these things are.” No effort was made to define “it” or put “these things” in context (or ask NBC for comment) or what fairness looks like or should look like in an ad-supported business in which not all demographic groups are monetized equally. Leno might be the fifth most popular personality on television, but these days, that distinction comes with a trail of tiny little asterisks. READ FULL STORY
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