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The Jay Leno Show: Pee Wee Herman, Amy Poehler

by Danny Gallagher, posted Sep 23rd 2009 1:15AM
Pee Wee Herman and Jay Leno
Ever hear a joke that you're not sure you heard a punchline to yet? I'm not even sure tonight's Jay Leno Show had a setup.

Pee Wee Herman's triumphant return to Jay's show was an insufferable bore, beyond an opening joke about mistaking a wedding ring for an abstinence ring. It ended, and I literally said the words, "Why the hell did I just watch that?" Then I realized I'm being paid to watch TV for a living, and I quit bitching.

The comic character was there to promote his revival of The Pee Wee Herman Show stage play, but the whole interview had very few laughs and felt more like an introspective look at the man's childhood and aspirations to go into show business. The only problem is he's a fictional character and the stories didn't have much of a punchline, so it's hard to know if they were about Pee Wee Herman or the man playing Pee Wee Herman. Should I be laughing? Should I be interested? Should I care?

Then just before I'm about to be sucked down into a swirling gray vortex of dull, the two move into that weird salad bar and deep fryer bit. I was waiting for them to get into a food fight or for Cowboy Curtis, aka Lawrence Fishburne, to poke his head out of the cucumber bin and give them a big ol' "Howdy."

Nothing like that happened. The thing didn't even feel like the setup to a joke. It just felt like a joke and not the good kind. The only funny part was the metal set piece that fell to the floor and broke the dullness of the salad bar bit. Either one of Jay's crew has the butterfingers or God is a better interview prepper than Jay's staff.

The upside was tonight's "Ten@Ten", this time with Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler. The segment seems to work loads better when a comedian is being interviewed, since the questions aren't always meant to be serious. It reminded me, for the first time, of Craig Kilborn's famous "5 Questions" from the original Daily Show and The Late Late Show. Her answers were very witty and funny and brought a great sense of spontaneity to the show, something that's been suspiciously absent since the primetime talk show hit the air.

Marina Franklin's correspondent set also brought some much needed comedy to the show. It had a great sense of honest comedy without going over the top from some very genuine people as she toured Harlem in search of signs of the city's slow gentrification. Any one of the people Marina interviewed would have made a much funnier guest than Pee Wee Herman.

At least I would have known they were being real.

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Craig

I agree, why are you bothering to review this? It's horrible. They couldn't come up with their own stuff so they showed a clip from the Funny or Die website. Already out of ideas? And yes, what was the deal with the salad bar? The worthlessness of this show can't be overstated.

September 23 2009 at 9:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike

Can anyone tel me why John (the announcer) was left out? Maybe he knbew this crap was coming. For the first time, I thought nothing was funny on this show. Amy Poehler was too clever to be funny. Pee Wee is stuck in the '70s. The interviewer in NY was auditioning for something. Wow. And I like the show.

September 23 2009 at 3:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mike's comment
John

Long story, but the thought from the Stern camp is that Jay was trying to capture some of Howard's (young?) male demographic so he took John Melendez (aka Stuttering John) and it just never worked. I mean, why else would someone want him to announce? He can't talk and he was really a nobody. He's a writer now.

September 23 2009 at 7:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
HavePh8

Holy crap, why are you guys still reviewing this junk? Leno is NOT funny!

September 23 2009 at 2:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jonathan C

oh i hope this is gone soon.

September 23 2009 at 1:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
david

I watched, and was beyond disappointed. It appears that the magical power of Jay Leno to make things unfunny simply be being associated them extends even to - sadly - Pee Wee Herman.

WHAT THE HELL WAS THE POINT?

September 23 2009 at 1:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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