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I checked out the Jay Leno Show last night, just to see if there had been any egregious bumps in the premiere that might have been ironed out for day two, or any refinement of the show’s tone as it hits cruising speed (of 88 miles per hour, taking us deep into the future). Nope! Not only were no kinks worked out, nor any shift in tone, but the show was actually worse. Someone call the editor of Duh Aficionado Magazine, we have a cover story. I mean, Jay Leno has been doing his late night schtick for 17 years, and this new show is simply a brutish, man-handled extension of that. What is there to work out? What about the tone do you dislike? This show hit the ground running. Or at least hit what it thinks is the ground to do what it calls running.

First of all, and I should have talked about this yesterday, but what is up with Jay’s victory lap when he comes on stage? Stephen Colbert does something like that when he’s playing a character who is an exaggeratedly pompous, self-absorbed megalomaniac, but even he doesn’t have a pre-selected mob from the audience come out to kiss the ring. It is one of the most self-indulgent displays I’ve ever seen.

What an asshole!

There’s no need for another rant about the outdated structure and cultural irrelevance of the late night monologue, but I will point out that Jay Leno, on national TV, in front of millions of people, made a “Kanye West doesn’t care about white people” joke TWO DAYS AFTER THAT JOKE HAD ALREADY BEEN MADE BY LITERALLY EVERYONE. It was not even an original joke two days ago (because of how it is obvious, and not that funny) but to try and bust that one out now? And tonight: Monica Lewinsky jokes, I’m sure.

Then, more unfunny “comedy” bits that we don’t need to talk about.

For the interview segment last night, Jay had Michael Moore to talk about his new movie, Capitalism: A Love Story, which Jay insisted was the best movie Michael Moore had ever made that everyone would love regardless of their politics. Fair enough! Except that his first line of questioning was about Michael Moore’s impulse control, and poking fun at how fat he is? Later, Michael Moore got up and sang a cover of “The Times They Are A-Changin” with no musical accompaniment. Now, regardless of whether or not you like Michael Moore, or thought that singing a cover of “The Times They Are A-Changin” was a good idea, he definitely committed to the song, and stood out there alone on the stage to do something he wanted to do, and the first thing Jay did when he shook his hand was made a joke about what a bad singer Michael Moore is. SOMEONE TATTOO CLASS ACT ON JAY LENO’S FACE SO THAT WE NEVER FORGET WHAT A CLASS ACT HE IS.

And then more stuff like this pre-rehearsed annoying stuff:

Tom Cruise saying he is into “man drama” is the funniest thing that happens all night, and Jay lets it cruise on by (get it? Cruise? Jay likes cars).

Also his pot-shot at Conan? I know that Conan has made lots of fun of Jay since he’s taken of the Tonight Show, which some might criticize as being ungracious, and I think that criticism would be fair. Nevertheless, when you’re the Old God, you have to expect to take your lumps. For Jay to take reverse-pot-shots at Conan just makes him seem like a fucking bully. Which he is. That is how he got this new show in the first place.

Usually, with something like a new late night talk show, it’s unfair to judge or make meaningful observations based on a couple of episodes because these programs are intended, if everything works out, to be on the air for years and years. So what difference does one episode make? But the Jay Leno Show isn’t a new late night talk show. It’s his old late night talk show with a couple of (barely) cosmetic changes, and some very unfunny new interstitial ideas: literally the best that Jay Leno and his team were able to come up with after/during their longest vacation in more than a decade.

This terrible show is even worse than I thought it was going to be!

Comments (48)
  1. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  2. I try not to judge late-night hosts for their opening monologue because they don’t usually write the jokes, and Craig Fergeson is usually the only one that is funny.

    To me, its the interview style. Letterman is an asshole to some guests, which is occasionally funny, but often times kind of sad. Conan is probably the best at interviewing anybody. Kimmel manages to say inappropriate things that I don’t think the rest of them could get away with, and Fallon basically laughs his way through the interview.

    Somehow though, Leno just kind of doughs it up. He manages to make good guests seem boring and boring guests seem change the channel.

    • TC  |   Posted on Sep 16th, 2009 -3

      I see where you’re coming from, but I completely disagree about Conan. I think interviews are far and away the weakest thing he does compared to other hosts. It kinda drives me nuts that he can’t ever find a good way to segue into the talking points from the pre-interviews, and it always sounds very forced when he takes left turns from one question to the next, and says things like “I’m just curious…I think people would like to know…have you ever done anything risky, like skydiving?” Even when Letterman is being a dick, he makes the conversation sound pretty natural (as does Ferguson). With Conan, not so much.

  3. eric  |   Posted on Sep 16th, 2009 +39

    Double Dog Challenge: Go to the Tonight Show and get a seat in the front and kiss the ring.

  4. Jay LeNO, David Blaine.

  5. Instead of the victory lap he does, he should drive into the studio with a car from his own collection. A new car for every new show.
    That would be better, right?

  6. Is this a new feature? Let’s see how much worse Jay Leno is every night? He’s worse every night by amounts that are immeasurable by current standards. I think I’d rather just watch Craig Ferguson.

  7. JAY LENO DOESN’T CARE ABOUT WHITE PEOPLE!!!

  8. Moonsinleo  |   Posted on Sep 16th, 2009 +1

    I would rather drive steel spikes through my eyeballs than watch Jay Leno. There is nothing funny about him. Never was, never will be. How long before NBC pulls the plug and sends him back to the garage?

  9. It really has become a caricature of what my worst fear was about this show. Admittedly, I am probably trying to nitpick every little speed bump Leno has in his first week, but the jokes at the expense of the guy you made cry to get high ratings the night before followed by a joke about dogfighting followed by a piss poor rip-off of Craig Kilborn’s 5 Questions followed by yet another knife in Conan O’Brien’s back would probably qualify as more than just a speed bump.

  10. Finally, Videogum gives me the daily Jay Leno coverage I’ve been dreaming about! Keep it coming! (Please do not keep it coming.)

  11. If Jay had followed Cruise’s “no,” to the strip club question with: “I’m including male strip clubs,” he might have won me over.

    • I find it hard to believe he never went to a strip club EVER. I mean, we are talking about the guy who did “Risky Business”. Never? Not even when you were 19 and did “Taps” with Sean Penn and Timothy Hutton? Suuuuuuuuuuuuure.

  12. …also, I have a friend from abroad visiting right now. Looking for something to watch, I saw that I might catch the tail-end of this show. Immediately, I was very flustered as my friend said something like: “this is the very funny guy, right?” I tried to explain how wrong he was growing more and more desperate to convince; suddenly, the commercial ended and Jay did the work for me. We watched a segment that consisted of very unfunny interaction with people “at 10 o’clock at night.” [!] It was basically a little bit of mean-spirited Conan bashing and like 5 weird car “jokes.” It seems any reference to cars it meant to be funny, I don’t know. By the end (well, I had to turn it before the sketch ended) I was no longer panicky to explain Jay, my friend had a perplexed look on his face and I simply said: “See?”

  13. What did he say about Coco?

  14. Stop giving him ratings! Maybe if we ignore this show enough, America won’t want him anymore.

  15. Nick  |   Posted on Sep 16th, 2009 -13

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  16. I’m glad a few people mentioned Craig Ferguson and how great he is…..the whole show is basically him talking about whatever the fuck he wants, and it’s not self-congratulatory at all. I remember once he opened by saying something involving lots of swear words and then followed it with “I bet they censored that. You know who likes to censor television? The bourgeoisie. I have a great distaste for them, much like Flaubert.” Once he asked Fiona Apple how often she smoked pot and they talked about that for a minute. Ferguson is to late-night talk show monologues what, like, Dunkaroos are to graham crackers (takes something boring that only old people like and make it delicious and CRAZY AWESOME).

  17. I feel like it’s good that Leno and Nascar share the same general audience, because I know we’re all watching for the same reasons: the smoldering, fiery wreckage.

  18. literally everyone = videogummers

  19. Gabe, I want an allergy medicine that won’t make me drowsy!

  20. Orphie  |   Posted on Sep 16th, 2009 -1

    You can’t blame Jay for grabbing the dough. You also can’t expect him to suddenly be something other than what he is. But you also can’t count on America tuning in to this awkward, lame mess night after night.

  21. Totes ma’ Goats!
    Jay Leno is Old America. His pomposity(yeah i just used that word), and bullying, and self-absorbed, intellectually static “comedy” that sticks to familiar Lewinski-populated territory, is akin to right-wing talk radio’s fear of the “egghead’s” taking control (i.e. Glenn Beck’s trotskyite “oligarchy” fear-mongering, or anne coulter’s “”When contemplating college liberals, … We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too”, lunacy.) I really don’t mean to overly politicize this, as i think American’s have a died in the wool, professional sports fueled, bi-partisan disposition for side-taking that borders on fascism (yeah that probably just people in general). My absurdly illogical point being there are, if not the “unwashed” masses, then masses that are left in intellectual and cultural dust, and who have as a result a sheepish inferiority complex that, in turn, results in a nigh psychopathic schaudenfreude. You’ve perhap’s seen this when you question an evangelicals logic and they avert their eyes and chuckle at words they don’t understand. This is of course a rant, but i just think we(whomever that might be) should occasionally take the time to seriously connect the dots between the “important” and the “trivial” cultural matters in a direct discourse, to better realize they stem from the same psycho/sociologal undercurrents, because beyond just thinking stuff is the best or the worst, we can hopefully insight change both in the ratings board and beyond it.

    the revolution would be televised, but Jay Leno stole its time slot.

    META

  22. Also; DAVID LETTERMAN! puttin out a quality show for nearly 3 decades. and present home of the hippest musical guest line-up this side of the Pond. big ups to him.

    ……….do people still give out “ups”?

  23. Oh, the irony of saying “Man! This _____ thing just won’t go away!”

  24. Based on the video of Cameron and Tom, I would REALLY like Tom if only I didn’t know he was a robot.

    • That?s funny, I couldn?t finish watching, I had to go clean the blood out of my eyes and ears. Did Tom say something that made him seem likeable?

  25. tom  |   Posted on Sep 16th, 2009 0

    no, he was too busy thinking aloud on tv about what hes better at, fucking or flying his plane.

  26. http://www.vanityfair.com/online/culture/2009/09/15/jay-does-right-what-conan-does-wrong-and-vice-versa.html

    Interesting Vanity Fair article about Leno and Conan. I think Bill Simmons tweeted it this morning @sportsguy33.

  27. I mean I’m all against terrorist attacks but I can honestly say I’d be happy if they bombed Jay’s garage/airplane hanger of cars.

  28. Two a-holes on an a-hole’s show.

  29. INDIAN  |   Posted on Sep 23rd, 2009 0

    JAY NEEDS THE DESK BACK, GET RID OF THE MALL LOOKING SET, PUT THE BAND BACK THE WAY THEY WERE. HES TRYING WAY TOO HARD TO MAKE IT WORK, WHEN ALL HE HAS TO DO IS GO BACK TO THE TONIGHT STYLE. AND GET RID OF THE STUPID 10 @ 10 HE LOOKS LIKE A FELON SITTING TO BE BOOKED, FOR SOMEONE PISSIN ON HIS COBRA. WHEN HE ISNT SITTING BEHIND THE DESK

  30. INDIAN  |   Posted on Sep 23rd, 2009 0

    JAY NEEDS THE DESK BACK, GET RID OF THE MALL LOOKING SET, PUT THE BAND BACK THE WAY THEY WERE. HES TRYING WAY TOO HARD TO MAKE IT WORK, WHEN ALL HE HAS TO DO IS GO BACK TO THE TONIGHT STYLE. AND GET RID OF THE STUPID 10 @ 10 HE LOOKS LIKE A FELON SITTING TO BE BOOKED, FOR SOMEONE PISSIN ON HIS COBRA. WHEN HE ISNT SITTING BEHIND THE DESK

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