No matter how bad things get in one’s life, there is always the held-out hope that they will eventually get better. We all dutifully push our own shopping cart through the falling ash as we carry our personal fire to the proverbial coast. But there are certain larger truths about the world we live in with which we must come to some sort of peace. And one of those truths is that this world was not made for us. We can find our own tiny, enshadowed corners to curl up in, but outside of those resting places it is an endless nightmare. I’m not saying that Jay Leno’s new 10PM talk show is an apocalyptic wasteland through which we have to trudge in the hopes of finding a lost world, but I am saying that Jay Leno’s 10PM talk show represents the cannibalized hopes and gray-wash dreams of a ruined society.

It really is a terrible show!

The show opens with a monologue. Really, a monologue? I mean, I knew there was going to be a monologue, but you also kind of hope that there won’t be a monologue. It’s such a failed, exhausted medium for archaic non-entertainment. Rushed jokes about current events that will be irrelevant tomorrow told with the casual air of someone trying to pass the time with their dentist. And this is a new show. NO RULES! NO DESK! Jay can do whatever he wants, and what he wants is to do more monologue jokes. That way he can slip in an incredibly tone-deaf joke about his AIRPLANE HANGAR FULL OF CARS. The joke went: “while we were off, the government started this program giving people money for their old cars. I made five billion dollars.”


The joke, I think, is that Jay Leno is so rich that he has amassed a small fortune in luxury collectibles, in addition to the money he uses to live his very comfortable life, and while millions of people across the country continue to lose their jobs as their homes are being foreclosed, Jay managed to gracelessly bully his way into a multi-million dollar job that did not need to be filled in the first place in order to continue buying cars so that he could have subject material for his obnoxious monologue jokes.

Then there were a couple of terrible “comedy” bits we don’t even need to talk about. It’s like all the advertising leading up to this show said: America says it wants more comedy! Right. Here you go, America, you fat fucking dumb baby.

Then Jay interviewed Jerry Seinfeld. Fine. If you look up the word “whatever” in the dictionary, it’s a picture of Jay Leno siting on an armchair next to Jerry Seinfeld sitting on an armchair, talking.

But as dull as the pre-Seinfeld “comedy” was, the worst “comedy” of the evening was Jay’s “interview” with Barack Obama, which he kept hyping up all night and saved for the second half, because something this good can’t be rushed.

I think the joke is that Jay Leno is wearing all the makeup. Or is the joke that Jay Leno HAS A LOT OF CARS? That is usually the joke, I guess.

And then, in the moment of the evening, I’m sure, Jay Leno interviewed a completely incoherent Kanye West about the VMAs controversy. Because Jay Leno is a hard-hitting journalist.

Classy question about Kanye’s mom, Jay Leno. You’re the new Walter Cronkite. What a jerk!

But easily my favorite part of the whole show was how after months of insisting that the new show would not have a desk, and that somehow not having a desk was BREAKTHROUGH TELEVISION, an important step forward in entertainment, it turns out that sometimes there will be a desk.


So that’s basically what happened, but can we talk about how weird this show is? Like, it uses the exact same color palette from Jay Leno’s Tonight Show? And there are all these number 10s painted on everything so that dumb people won’t get confused and think that this is the Tonight Show, because obviously the Tonight Show would have 11:30 painted everywhere, or whatever. It’s one thing for Jay to be proud of his show. Of course. He should be proud. Everyone should be proud of their accomplishments. But he seems to be celebrating the fact that he forced his way back on the air in the 10PM slot, which we all agree was doing Conan dirty, right? Like, even Jay’s biggest fans should be able to acknowledge that Jay did not act like a gentleman in this situation. But the whole show was built on celebrating his return to doing the exact same thing he’s been doing for 17 years after a three month paid vacation. Yay?! Huh?!


Of course, this show is probably going to be a huge success. Back to our secret caves of despair!

Comments (67)
  1. You are fierce this morning, Gabe, and I LIKE it. I like it and Betty Page LOVES it.


  2. you secretly love him, don’t you

  3. The “Jay talks to adults like they are children” section was fresh and funny.
    “Would mommy give you a lecture?” woof.

  4. A tux. Really? REALLY? A fucking tuxedo?

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    • 1) Everybody probably ought to step back and put the speech thing into perspective. Yes, it was a dicky thing to do, but it’s not the end of the world. It was a VMA award – nothing more. The show is designed for such faux-controversy and Taylor Swift will survive.
      2) Taylor Swift is probably over the moon about this and has been internally thanking Kanye since it happened. I know I’d never heard of her before and am double sure my mom hadn’t.
      3) Moms dying is sad. The extremity of evil that someone would have to achieve for me to gloat over a dead mother probably requires a time machine.

      • Whoa there, whoa. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not president of the Taylor Swift Fan Club over here, and I’m sure that she is going to get a lot of publicity (not that she really needs it) out of this incident, but it’s really not what Kanye did that had me steamed–it was the fact that he’s such an asshole that he thought it was his right to do it in the first place.

        And I’m not celebrating his mother’s death, for god’s sake, I’m saying that I enjoyed seeing this nightmare get punched in the proverbial balls.

        • Eh, you did say this incident should end his career, which is sort of crazy. Sure, he is probably one of defining artists of this decade (and actually good, to boot), but fuck it. He disrupted an MTV award show! He confused Taylor Swift! Burn him!

          And seriously, Jay Leno, bringing up a recently deceased mother? Class.

        • The Worst.

        • carl  |   Posted on Sep 18th, 2009 +2

          I would rather live in a world where kanye west goes up on stage, steals a microphone and says something annoying than a world where taylor swift gets an award at a boring MTV show with no shenanigans.

    • as a person whose mother recently died, i can’t condone your sentiments, but as a person who desperately wants there to be more dark tower references in her day to day life, i am ecstatic.

      life is full of hard decisions!

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  7. Well said, Gabe. It was all so forced and sad and canned and exactly the same as it’s been for 17 years. Kevin Eubanks was there (along with the childish pre-recorded ‘Cheaters’ bit), the ridiculous high fives before the (too long) monologue were there, and he kept saying things and acting like nothing had ever happened and Conan O’Brien didn’t even exist. “It’s Monday night, that means it’s HEADLINES!”

    No Jay, that’s not what it means. It used to mean that when you hosted ‘The Tonight Show,’ but you don’t anymore, remember? You have a new show now, remember? You promised a new format and innovation with the genre, remember? The whole thing was just infuriating.

  8. If Coca-Cola is Ah2/Mm2, then Jay Leno is Uh2/Blech2.

  9. BOTTOM line is: PEOPLE ARE going to WATCH the fuck OUT of this. And I don’t MEAN like WATCH WATCH IT but watch it, LOVE IT, and FUCKING tell EVERYONE about IT.

    On an UNRELATED side note, I was TRYING TO find a PICTURE ABOUT eye JUNK to complete THE UPPER JOKE, and fuckin GOOGLE BROUGHT up THIS:
    Angry face


    Oh yeah THAT’S just ME, removing MY DOG’S EYE junk in A TOTALLY NORMAL position at A TOTALLY NORMAL time. Someone ClipArt it FOR ME. Thanks! -This chick WANTING THIS picture.

  10. I never in my life thought I would ever feel any type of sympathy towards Kanye until Leno asked him how he thought his DEAD MOTHER would feel about the VMAs. Classy. But apparently it’s okay because he had a conversation with her about 5 years ago?

    This show. Groundbreaking stuff you guys!

    • “Would she give you a lecture” should end Jay’s career. The worst!

      • Too bad every dipshit fan of his will say, “JAY LENO ASKS THE HARD-HITTING QUESTIONS HUGH GRANT HEADLINES!!!!”

      • What really makes me mad is that I already knew the show would be crap. I just figured it would be worth enduring because Kanye never disappoints when I’m in need of cheap entertainment. Obviously I underestimated Leno’s ability to be the worst. I could’ve been watching Cheaters!

      • The incredible (?) thing about the old “What would your [insert dead relative] think of this?” question is that it can be endlessly involuted, and endlessly meaningless, as it recalls to mind all the grief and awfulness and permanence of losing a loved one.

        “OK, sure, but what would your dead mom’s dead father think about this? How about your dead grandmother? Her dead sister? Their dead mother? Her dead husband (your great grandfather, dead, on your dead mother’s side)?”

        I’m glad that Kanye didn’t really respond to Jay’s dumb (and depressingly provocative/invasive) question, but chose to speak for himself. Boo Jay, boo.

  11. This is like IkilledMichael’s idea with the Valkyrie gif : http://videogum.com/archives/monsters-ball/monsters-ball-the-weeks-best-comments_089581.html#comment-5079891

    It only goes through once for me though (clever and all, but once was already a few .gif frames too many for me)

    • *facepalm* Ugh, of course. This was supposed to be a reply to jsundinpdx. Jay Leno is the worst. Thank you for your kind attention.

  12. When I was 10, “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” was the only piece of American television that could be seen on Belgian cable tv. I absolutely loved it: the fact that it was on a channel called “Supernet”, that it was on at 10 PM (was anybody awake at 10PM?) and the fact that it made me feel like the smartest 10-year old in the world because not only could I understand most of what he was saying, I also understood the “jokes”.

    My point is, whenever I feel confused about Leno’s popularity I think back to 1998, remember how I felt back then and it helps me understand. Building bridges!

  13. Taylor Swift was an inside job!

    • As another ancillary Simpsons character commenting here, but what do you think the odds are that the Kanye-Taylor Swift thing was elaborately planned? Probably pretty low, but everyone is shitting their pants over the VMAs for the first time in a very long time, and Kanye’s the kind of guy that has withstood a controversy just like this one in the past. …Do I sound like Charlie Sheen yet?

      • I’d say the odds are decent. I expect Kanye to make an ass of himself yearly at the VMAs because that’s what he does. He’s like the annual SOY BOMB of the VMAs and all. The whole thing seemed a little too convenient to me.

  14. MrShake  |   Posted on Sep 15th, 2009 +12

    I was waiting to see today’s Videogum headline on this matter, expecting some literate, convoluted in-joke, the kind that draws me here daily.

    But beauty in simplicity. Way to go, Gabe. Touche.

  15. I wouldn’t hate Jay Leno as much if he didn’t steal the Law & Order time slot. I wouldn’t watch his show no matter what time it was on, but did he have to mess with the detectives of the Special Victims Unit?

  16. Get it???? JAYwalking!!!!!

  17. jay leno had 3 month off and still didn’t get a haircut?

  18. In the Central time zone, which is arguably Leno’s biggest audience, his show comes on at 9 pm. Way to confuse or ignore your target demo, Set Designers.

  19. Jay Leno is the comedy equivalent of a puppy. Even though he’s terrible and not funny, he seems like an OK guy and is, regrettably, likeable. Every time the rage starts boiling because of his overwhelming mediocrity and I think “Man, I would love to slug that guy right in his big, stupid face” I end up feeling bad. It would be like kicking a puppy.

  20. The #10 google trend at around 11:30 was “Alpo”. That is unsettling, 1) it means kids who had no idea what Alpo was were watching (kanye obviously… kids: STOP WATCHING! go play in traffic or something – at 10pm – anything is better) 2) the #1 google trend was NOT “Jay Leno worst” as I was hoping upon hope that it would be. (#1 was “Patrick Swayze died” and #2 was “no one puts baby in a corner” – okay fine.)(“Jay Leno worst” didn’t even make the list – not fine.)

  21. Oh noooo, I laughed at “torte reform!” Whyyyyy? Do I have to go rent Paul Blart: Mall Cop now? Will I laugh at that too? UGH.

  22. Charlie Rose  |   Posted on Sep 15th, 2009 0

    He didn’t help himself at all losing the desk…it just makes me want Dick Cavet to come back even more…

  23. Lorne  |   Posted on Sep 15th, 2009 0

    Come on…It’s 1974 again TV…What do ya say?….

  24. God if Jay Leno is the coast, I’m using the bullet on myself…sorry son.

  25. brad  |   Posted on Sep 15th, 2009 -1

    nice “The Road” reference, Gabe.

    Now if you could only have mentioned the part in the basement somehow…

  26. ed  |   Posted on Sep 15th, 2009 +2

    right on Gabe, leave it to Jay to actually make Kanye not look like an asshole by asking the bigger asshole question about his dead mom. geeeez…

  27. Kyle  |   Posted on Sep 15th, 2009 -2

    Trust me, he ain’t that good, especially not nearly as good as he believes. This is what bothers a lot of people about him.

  28. Kyle  |   Posted on Sep 15th, 2009 -2

    Trust me, he ain’t that good, especially not nearly as good as he believes. This is what bothers a lot of people about him.

  29. Look you guys 2 things:

    1.) Kanye West probably needed a jarring insensitive jib to throw more WISE UP JUICE in his face plate to aid in him realizing he is an ignorant baby and the level of celebrity worship surrounding him is ridiculous. Thankfully it came from someone completely irrelevant like Jay Leno who can get away with something that insensitive. Jay just Kanye’d Kanye basically. I’m not saying it was cool (because cool and Jay Leno should never appear in the same sentence unless you are explaining how uncool Jay Leno is), but probably necessary.

    2.) Everybody poops. Jay Leno just does it on TV.

    • Kanye has never done anything as arrogant, self-serving, or dickish as asking that question. And that is what Kanye is known for. Kanye made a mockery out of the least respected award show this side of the teen choice awards and upstaged a young girl who had done nothing to deserve that award. Jay Leno exploited a dead mother for ratings.

    • again, i’m probably especially sensitive about this since my mom died recently, but him being a dick doesn’t change the very, very real loss he is still dealing with and jay leno asking that totally obvious and stupid question was both pathetic (because of how blatantly he was attempting to fabricate controversy) and also pretty gross (because ew, his mom is dead, you big pig.)

  30. I think the reason why he asked about Kanye’s mother (other than having poor judgment and 10 producers and writers holding guns to his head if he didn’t) is because they needed to have the new “what the hell were you thinking?” question that he asked Hugh Grant back in the day. It put him in the lead for ratings then, and that is what they were probably hoping for here.

  31. I have to admit that I hold a tiny bit of sentimentality for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (although not really for Jay Leno himself), because when I was little my dad used to let me stay up late (unbeknownst to my mother) to let me watch it with him. I never really liked Jay, but hey, nostalgia and whatnot.

  32. An alternate title to this post could be “The Jay Leno Show is The Jay Leno Show”

  33. I did enjoy the Dan Band segment, but then again I just enjoy the Dan Band. Also Jay Leno is like the priest in the Exorcist, he tried to transfer America’s anger towards Kanye on to him by asking what dead mothers think about their son’s mistakes that happened on live TV.

  34. A weed joke?! A Joe Wilson joke?! Clowns!? Even tarts?! AND A BONER JOKE?!?! HOLY SHIT THAT OBAMA INTERVIEW HAD FUCKING EVERYTHING!!!


  35. somebody told me today that NBC NEEDS the jay leno show because they are almost broke as a network, and jay’s raging popularity is what they are hanging their hopes for not totally taking upon. confirm or deny?!?!

  36. I can’t wait until Dane Cook is shoe horned in to take over the Jay Leno show.

  37. headlines  |   Posted on Sep 17th, 2009 -1

    Headlines is easily the best part of the show. Now I know which five minutes to record every week, and that’s all I need. You can have the rest, but Headlines rock. Sure, there’s a hundred websites where I could read many more of them, but then I wouldn’t get to hear Kevin and Jay make juvenile dick jokes about every other headline. That’s the value-add right there.

  38. Jay Leno’s the sh*t motha fu*kas!!!!

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