Last night on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, former host Jay Leno came by—not just as a guest, but as a performer. Following waves of applause, Leno performed a brief standup set, feigning surprise when Jimmy Fallon called him to the couch for an interview.
Tag: Jay Leno (1-10 of 80)
On Sunday night, Jay Leno received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center, and the event wasn’t without its share of cracks at the former Tonight Show host. According to the Associated Press, Jimmy Fallon, Jerry Seinfeld, Wanda Sykes, Garth Brooks, Kevin Eubanks, and Chelsea Handler were on hand to pay tribute to Leno, and they did not hold back on lobbing zingers about Leno.
“When I first heard that Jay was getting this Mark Twain Prize tonight, which is a huge honor, I found out it was for humor, and I was a little bit confused,” Handler said, according to the Associated Press. “I wasn’t sure what the connection was.”
Seinfeld also shared some faux bitterness against Leno, saying, “There’s no one more deserving to get this wonderful award obviously than Jay. No one—except and I really don’t want to sound bitter here—except maybe me? I mean, come on.”
As he accepted the award, Leno said he “didn’t leave (The Tonight Show) dead broke like Bill and Hillary.”
Leno will be returning to his NBC roots soon with a new show, Jay Leno’s Garage, which is inspired by his love of cars and is expected to premiere in 2015 on CNBC.
The ceremony for the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor will be televised on PBS on Nov. 23.
Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler couldn’t have said it better in a room filled with TV executives and stars: “Movies are dumb, and TV is awesome. If we take away anything from the night, let’s all remember that TV is better than film and everybody knows it.”
Poehler was introducing Julia Louis-Dreyfus as one of six honorees inducted into the Television Academy’s 23rd Hall of Fame Tuesday night during a ceremony at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. Other inductees included David E. Kelley (Boston Legal, The Crazy Ones), former Tonight Show host Jay Leno, News Corp. executive chairman Rupert Murdoch (who was also celebrating his 83rd birthday), and ABC television executive Brian Stoddard. Ray Dolby, inventor, engineer and founder of Dolby Laboratories, was also inducted posthumously.
Dancing With the Stars co-host Tom Bergeron, who earlier Tuesday announced his plans to leave ABC’s staple America’s Funniest Home Videos, hosted the TV industry event. EW was on the scene as well — check below for a selection of the night’s best moments and quotes:
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
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.
READ FULL STORY
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.)
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