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Leno Weekly: Jamie Foxx, Wanda Sykes & more!

by Jason Hughes, posted Oct 9th 2009 6:30PM
Wanda Sykes: I'ma Be MeWelcome to the inaugural edition of "Leno Weekly." As you may have noticed, there were no daily reviews of The Jay Leno Show this week. We felt that while it was important to cover the show for the first few weeks, the time for daily reviews has passed. NBC had promised that this would be a bold new comedy venture for prime-time network television. It's not.

That's not to say that it doesn't have its value or historical significance. Whether it succeeds or fails, it's still a big deal that NBC abandoned scripted television at 10pm. It's kind of like when ABC threw Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? on fourteen times a week to prop up their broken schedule a decade or so ago.

For those of you still interested in how the experiment is playing out, "Leno Weekly" will be a weekly roundup of the highlights and lowlights of Leno's primetime show, including clips. For those who don't think The Jay Leno Show deserves any kind of coverage at all on TV Squad ... now you only have one article a week to ignore!

Normally, this article will be covering shows from the previous Friday through Thursday's show, since we're a new Friday feature. But, since last Friday we actually reviewed the episode, there's no point in covering it. So here's a look through the best bits of this week's The Jay Leno Show.


Some of these comedy segments are getting better. Hopefully, they're paying attention to the responses and eliminating the bits that aren't working. Strangely enough, I didn't think Jim Norton's "Uninvited Guest" segment was funny this time around. Maybe because I don't care one way or the other about fishing. Or maybe because it wasn't that funny. I had the same problem with Brian Unger's "Scratching the Surface," though it at least had some fun bits capturing the incredibly fat people of Arlington, Texas.

Two of the segments did work for me, though. I loved Dan Finnerty and the Dan Band the first time he was on, at the car wash, and I enjoyed his trip to the dentist this week. And so far he's convinced a pretty girl both times to be his "audience." Is that a set-up? Here's the clip:

I remember Mikey Day from Kath & Kim, but here he was part of a fake TMZ knock-off: JMZ. I didn't expect much out of this segment, until we learned that actual paparazzi targets would be in on the jokes. And I never thought I'd say this, but I actually enjoyed a bit with Kate Gosselin. That said, Lance Bass was even funnier. Who knew?:


In the span of four days, on a show with only one guest, do you really need two actors from and plugging the same movie? I know Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler are both big stars, but this seemed like a bit of Law Abiding Citizen overkill. Of course, the biggest problem I've been having with the guests on Leno is that this is a "comedy" show and not all of these guests are funny. And Jay doesn't create funny situations for them to be a part of.

As proof, the only funny guest this week was Wanda Sykes, and her interview was mostly Leno setting her up to go into her comedy bits. I think I'd rather see comedy on this show and save the standard interview stuff for the hundreds of other late night talk shows on after my late local news. But Sykes was funny throughout her interview. Here's how you make a funny appearance on a "comedy" show:

One new feature that Leno does with his guests is "Earn Your Plug." In this, most of his guests must do some stunt or perform in some activity in order to promote their latest project. Again, two actors plugging the same movie in four days. I'm just saying.

But these are opportunities for comedy, and instead we had Abigail Breslin shooting Leno with a paintball gun, Gerard Butler doing the "Green Car Challenge," and Wanda Sykes challenging him to a bowling match. Why can't we have comedy skits with these celebrities? Who cares of they're awkward. The only comedy we got really was Jamie Foxx reworking his hit "Blame It on the Alcohol" into a kid-friendly version:


Tim Allen & Gerard Butler
This still feels like a waste of a segment to me. The race is always identical and there is no real sense of drama. I didn't even care that Drew Barrymore's speed record was broken not once, but twice this week. First by Tim Allen and then by Gerard Butler, who beat Allen even with a penalty for hitting Ed Begley, Jr.


Ben Harper and the Relentless Seven (w/ Jack Black) - "Under Pressure"
Only one musical guest this week. I'm not sure if Harper wasn't feeling well or what the deal was, but he was outsang by Jack Black through the first part of this performance, which you never want. You don't want your guest star upstaging you. It was as if the song was too big for Harper, and Queen is to big for almost everyone, but he was going to take it on anyway.

I do like the idea of mashing together unique musical guests like this. It makes it a little different than traditional talk show fare. Though, to be fair, Ben Harper has performed this song with Jack Black's Tenacious D before. Sorry, I can't find any clips of this.


Of course, there are other segments sprinkled throughout the show, including the popular(?) "10 @ 10." I'm still not feeling this segment. It runs too long and it's just not funny. I know, I keep thinking this show should be funny. Didn't NBC say we wanted more comedy? This week we had Joe Torre and Kathleen Sebelius answering question, but the most interesting thing I learned was that Sebelius enjoys both Toby Keith and Dixie Chicks. Isn't that illegal?

And of course, there were the Leno classics. I've culled out some of the best bits from them to wrap this up.

  • "Committee appoints committee to appoint committee"
  • "Safety of commuter flights defended" / "Hatch falls off of commuter flight"
  • "Stay home if you are sick until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours or seven days, whichever is longer."
  • "Free K-12 Students Homwork Help"
  • "Albertson's Canned Cat, 10 for $2"
  • "The statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it."
  • I've always said, if you think education is expensive, try ignorancy." --Rep. Rickey Hardy

Jaywalk: by the Book

Finishing book titles:
  • The Merchant of ... Atlantis
  • Robinson ... and Crusoe
  • A Tale of Two ... Mice?
  • One Flew Over the ... Nest Egg
  • Crime & ... Passion? Vodka? Love?

Cathy (or Kathy) went to Harvard and got a degree in English)
  • The Count of ... Earl? Monte ... Carlos?
  • The Adventures of Tom ... I Don't Know? Huckleberry?

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What do i watch Monday through Friday's at 10:00 PM?


October 09 2009 at 6:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to John's comment


October 10 2009 at 12:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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