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Stuttering John relegated to writers' room for new Leno show

by Joel Keller, posted Jul 23rd 2009 3:01PM
Stuttering John Melendez and Jay LenoAs a longtime Howard Stern fan, John Melendez will always be known as Stuttering John to me. Over the many years he was on the show, Melendez somehow managed to get control of his stammer, but not his annoying Long Island accent. So when Jay Leno decided to add a little bit of "hipness" on The Tonight Show by plucking Melendez from Stern's clutches and making him the announcer of the show five years ago, you had to wonder about the wisdom of that decision.

Of course, the move didn't work: Melendez may not have stuttered while he was introducing the show, but hearing him butcher celebrity names -- did he call Pamela Anderson "Pamaler Andason" once? -- on a daily basis was brutal. And Leno quickly realized that without Stern and his writers to support him, Melendez wasn't all that funny.

So it's not a surprise to learn that, with the clean slate provided by a move in timeslot, Melendez won't be the announcer on The Jay Leno Show.

He'll be among the staff of 19 writers, but you won't hear or see him on the program. I bet he won't write anything, either, but we'll never know that for sure. I can just see him pitching joke ideas now:

John: "How 'bout something where Jay goes and asks people questions, like I used to do on the Stern show?"
Head Writer: "We do that already. It's called 'Jaywalking.' Can you just go and get us lunch like we asked you to?"

This just feels like a case of Leno backhandedly admitting he made a mistake in hiring Melendez but being too nice of a guy to let him go. Good for Melendez; the last thing he needs to do is come crawling back to Stern, which I'm sure would have been his next move.

[via TV Week]

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Stern is a loser. John's best move was when he left Stern for Leno, which then made Leno the loser.
But now Leno is the winner, and John is the loser. I suppose Stern is now a winner too, until he hires John back, which will again make him a loser, and John a winner. Confusing, isn't it.

August 12 2009 at 12:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike Davis



July 23 2009 at 10:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tony DIMeo

I liked melendez on the Tonight show his stupidity always made the show so cool and fun

July 23 2009 at 5:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Um, I don't think the Stern writers ever bothered writing in-studio for Stuttering John, which was where I thought he was the funniest. Telling stories, busting balls, etc. The red carpet interviews could really be done by a lot of other people, you just need dopey questions and a shy personality. A speech impediment helps.

Can't wait to hear what Howard has to say about it on Monday. I hope John quits.

July 23 2009 at 5:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to John's comment
Joel Keller

It looks like the news came out early enough to be mentioned on today's show, at least according to the recap on the show's website.

July 23 2009 at 6:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

John's greatest mispronunciation: Nicolas Cage.

The Stuttering John Leno audition tape Stern plays is priceless.

What/Who will Leno steal from Stern next? Richard Christy on the drums?

July 23 2009 at 4:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What makes you such an expert on Stuttering John's role, on non-role, on a show that hasn't even premiered yet?

July 23 2009 at 4:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to MJL's comment
Joel Keller

Do you have any idea what he's going to do there? I listened to the guy on the Stern show for 15 years. If it wasn't written for him, he wasn't funny.

July 23 2009 at 5:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jay Black

John used up all his good Karma in making "One... Two... Many."

Did you see it Joel? Martin Scorsese's "The Big Shave" had a more coherent storyline (and, quite frankly, works as a metaphor for the self-mutilation John did to his career by writing and staring in that).

Anyway, I think we all knew this was coming. Did they release the news suspiciously after 10 AM today so that Stern couldn't comment on it till next week?

July 23 2009 at 3:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jay Black's comment
Joel Keller

I bought his music CD. That was enough. I remember when he hosted the "Hot Legs" competition at my college's spring festival one year. His comedic repertoire consisted of "Take off your top!" and nothing else.

July 23 2009 at 5:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ed Venture

Hey, he banked a ton of money to hoist a coffee cup. Now the poor bugger is actually going to have to do some work.

July 23 2009 at 3:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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