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October 4, 2015

Leno gets questioned by the WGA

by Joel Keller, posted Feb 26th 2009 12:03PM
LenoRemember when, as all the late-night shows came back during last year's writers' strike, Jay Leno mentioned on the air that he was writing his own monologue jokes? As you might expect, that didn't sit well with the rank-and-file of the WGA, but the guild decided to ruminate on it because a) he was very supportive of the union at the beginning of the strike and b) it's Jay Leno.

Apparently, though, the union has had a change of heart. The Tonight Show's outgoing host has been called to testify to the union's trial committee on charges that he violated the terms of the strike by writing for himself. Both Leno and NBC claim that there was language in the strike terms that said performers could write for themselves, even if they were guild members like Leno. The union, however, disagrees.

Of course, this might just be a matter of semantics. Because Leno admitted that he actually wrote jokes on paper instead of saying them off the top of his head, the guild feels he's violating the rules. But what about Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert? Did they improvise everything they said on their shows during the strike? Did they not even write down an outline, keeping everything lodged in their heads? My guess is that if Leno didn't admit to writing down jokes on the air, the union wouldn't be hauling him in for questioning right now.

Maybe Jay just should have done what Conan did, which was spin his wedding ring on his desk, fly across his studio on a wire, or get in a fake fight with Colbert and Stewart. Believe me, the jokes he told during that period weren't worth losing his union membership.

[via TV Week]

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Rocketboy, I cannot figure out if you understand, this is just a union hearing and not some legal issue. and your points really don't make sense to the matter. And also, this isn't about just being able to find some guy to do the job, its a matter of union membership contract. Leno probably won't lose his job or union status, he will probably get fined if found in violation of the membership guidelines though.

February 27 2009 at 9:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Unions have outlived their usefulness. Leno should fire all the hacks he uses anyway.

February 26 2009 at 4:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to SadOldMan's comment

Leno's the one who's outlived his usefulness. He is so unfunny. How he remains so popular defies all logic.

February 27 2009 at 10:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm more a guy C type myself ..

February 26 2009 at 2:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They are making him testify because the work that he did when the writers refused to work threatens their jobs. That's why striking workers take issue with people who willing work during a strike situation.
Let's break it down. If Guy A is on strike, refusing to work, but Guy B is more than willing to do said work, Guy B is threatening Guy A's job.

Who would you rather employ, someone who is willing to do work, or someone who is not?

February 26 2009 at 1:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Rocketboy_X's comment

what does that have to do with someone being good at their job, both guys A and B might put out the same quality work, just guy A has his principles and guy B just wants a paycheck

February 26 2009 at 1:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Again, it's A that's using the courts to make sure that they keep their job, even after refusing to do it. In the real world, if you don't want to do your job, they'll find someone else to do it.

February 26 2009 at 9:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yeah, I'll add my name to the mix. What the heck does that mean, Rocketboy?

I seriously doubt we'll see anything come of this. They just need to run through the motions to save face. They'll slap him with a small fine and he'll say he'll never do it again.

I don't think this is very big news.


February 26 2009 at 1:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The motion is carried. We now put up for a vote on the nonsensical nature of Rocketboy. All those voting aye?

February 26 2009 at 1:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joey Geraci

Can I second the lack of sense of Rocketboy?

February 26 2009 at 12:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If you need the courts to protect your job, it means that you stink at your job.

February 26 2009 at 12:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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