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October 8, 2015

Things I Hate About TV: Jay Leno

by Bob Sassone, posted Mar 28th 2006 11:58AM
Jay LenoIf you like Jay Leno more than David Letterman, we probably wouldn't get along.

That's a big general statement, but it's what I've believed all these years. It goes way back. First Leno replaces Johnny Carson (yeah, I know, Carson quit, but still, Leno is the one who replaced him) and at the same time kinda screwed Letterman out of the job he probably deserved after so many years in the 12:30am slot at NBC. So right off the bat I have a dislike for Leno.

But it goes deeper than that.

The guy just isn't that funny. Is the monlogue the best part of his show? Yeah, it is. But I think that has more to do with quantity than quality. Leno and his staff are famous for their late night sessions of joke writing, and the monlogues are much longer than those of all the other late night hosts, so you're bound to get some good ones. But beyond that (and Headlines, which is kinda funny but has nothing to do with Leno), the show is a disaster. The sketches are lame, John Melendez is a horrible choice for announcer, and Leno doesn't even seem interested in his guests half the time.

Maybe it's an age thing. I spent my late teens and throughout my twenties loving Letterman, from his short-lived (but underrated) morning show in the early 80s to his NBC show to his current show at CBS, which he started in '93 after he didn't get the Tonight Show gig. But it's more than an age thing. Leno went from good standup comic to showbizzy, late night hack. His jokes are forced, his oversells everything, and the show just isn't that fun. I won't even call it The Tonight Show anymore, as long as Leno is hosting. You'll notice that in my Talk Talk columns, I call the show Jay Leno. Because what he's hosting isn't The Tonight Show.

Leno has been winning the ratings race every week for years. This used to tick me off, until I realized why it happens (it's much too long to get into here). But it doesn't matter. Letterman is and always will be the heir to the Carson throne.

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Leno as Scrooge McDuck

February 08 2010 at 9:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Didn't you leave out the fact that Leno is one of the most miserable interviewers around? He is disrespectful of guests, doesn't bother to listen and, at times, downright mean.

Funny? Ick.

He followed a really class act and has never been fit to even wipe Johnny Carson's ass.

January 24 2010 at 11:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

He really isn't funny at all and he....

FLAT OUT STARES at the tele prompter...


my God, I miss Johnny Carson...

October 13 2009 at 10:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Jay Leno is a loser. He makes fun of our country our president our american people. Get out of this country Jay Leno if you dont like it. Ellen DeGeneres should take over Jay Lenos show.Get out of here Jay Leno. You are a Nobody.

May 14 2008 at 12:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This pretty much sums up how I feel about Jay Leno:


Best T-Shirt ever!

November 12 2007 at 12:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't care for Jay Leno either. I agree that his opening monologues are quite good, which used to be letterman's strength, Now Dave is much more interesting while interviewing guests, which Jay just doesn't seem to have the chops for. Conan had proved to the be the best of the three in my opinion the last 5 years or so.

March 29 2006 at 8:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love Letterman. The combination of sharpness and silliness is, in my opinion, pitch-perfect. I agree with the point many others have made: his interviewing skill is considerable when he's talking with someone he's genuinely interested in, or with someone for whom he appears to have little respect (Bill O'Reilly, anyone?)

As for Leno - his appeal eludes me, and I suspect always will. I just don't find him funny. I live in the UK (that's why I'm unable to comment on whether Letterman's output has declined in quality over the years) and why most Americans watch Leno is, to this foreign observer, a mystery on a par with why you elected Bush. As others have said in this comments thread, I can only assume the explanation is that there are a whole lot of stupid people out there.

My opinion of Conan is mixed. I find him funny on occasion, but find his style difficult to appreciate.

Oh, and Jon Stewart, of course, rules.

March 29 2006 at 7:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim Kata

Okay, Morgan. You called me out, toughguy.
1. I don't take a position? Bush=Leno. Morons both.

2. The 11:00 Slot? It was Letterman's to lose. Johnny anointed him the successor. Personally, I hated to see Dave move to the earlier time slot. Once there, with the broader potential, you have to tone down your act.

3. It makes me Einstein because I'm right. Got that, smartypants?

4. I am an IQ superstar. And you, obviously, are not.

Now go back to making sure the shake machine is clean, Sparky.

March 29 2006 at 2:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I wouldn't go as far as to say that I hate Jay Leno- I find him amusing but not particularly interesting or

I have found Dave Letterman to be entertaining and intriguing at the same time. Always the outsider but this distance helps him to be insightful and speak for many in his rants.

His wit is razor sharp and while it cuts the vain, shallow types he has to interview at times- usually he is right on the money with his observations.

March 28 2006 at 11:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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