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August 28, 2015

Leno Weekly: Bill Cosby, Jeff Dunham, Dana Carvey and more!

by Jason Hughes, posted Oct 17th 2009 2:09AM
Bill CosbyThursday's return of 30 Rock afforded a pretty fun segue into The Jay Leno Show. 30 Rock has always been a little self-aware, and here they took that to the next level. During the closing credits, Jack (Alec Baldwin) said to Liz (Tina Fey), "Step into the light, Lemon. There's nothing wrong with being fun and popular and just giving people what they want." He then turns directly to the camera and adds: "Ladies and gentlemen, Jay Leno."

Unfortunately, when we cut to The Jay Leno Show, his dancing girls (an homage to Jenna's video in 30 Rock) were better at looking good in their tight shorts than they were at dancing. Then, after Leno came out, we got to overhear a woman wanting to get something signed. "Can I leave it?"

I did enjoy the smooth transition into the show. It creates a sense of synergy on the network where you feel like all these shows are one big happy family. Except for Southland. But I guess there's always that one relative nobody wants around ... Hey, I just wrote a Jay Leno joke!


First off, it was great seeing Arsenio Hall again; the man hasn't aged a day. He had some fun interviewing the folks in Compton about Leno's new show, but it was better when Leno did it himself in his "Getting Ready for 10" segment. There were some genuinely funny moments with Leno barging in on regular people, and bringing along such celebrities as Lauren Conrad and Wolfgang Puck to help him out:

Trevor Moore's (Whitest Kids U'Know) segment seemed strangely out of place. It started with him pitching ideas for bits to Leno, but then morphed into the realization of one of those ideas. But the pitch was the scripted drama parody Cops & Doctors, which we've already seen. So the set-up came off looking kind of lame.

As for Cops & Doctors, it's apparently upsetting some people who see it as Jay making fun of the very shows he's replacing. Which it is, obviously. But what do you want from Jay? Is he supposed to be upset that he's taken five hours of scripted television off of NBC's schedule? He probably wouldn't have a job if he said that he was. And the man does love to work. The biggest tragedy is that Cops & Doctors isn't funny.

Marian Franklin went back to the beauty salon she hit in her first appearance on the show, but it wasn't as funny this time around. D.L.Hughley's bit didn't pick up until he had Representatives Dennis Kucinich-D and Steve LaTourette-R swinging together.

Mikey Day was back with another edition of "JMZ." If they can keep getting celebrities who are game to spoof themselves, I think "JMZ" is a keeper:


Poor Terry Bradshaw. He switched his Atlanta pick to San Francisco "for the sake of the show." Otherwise, he'd have agreed 100% with the chicken. Then he, too, could have gone 1-2, rather than 0-3.

Matt Lauer was did well in the green car challenge. Too bad that's still the biggest waste of a television segment I've ever seen. I thought John C. Reilly was a fun, if unremarkable guest. It did offer the best clip for Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant I've seen yet, even if Reilly technically failed to earn it.

I know I'm in the minority on this one, but I do not see the massive appeal of Jeff Dunham. I just don't get it. The puppet personalities aren't all that funny, he's not the best ventriloquist, and the jokes are mostly lame. Clearly I'm wrong, because he's getting his own show, The Jeff Dunham Show, starting this Thursday, October 22, 2009 at 9pm.

I did love that Dana Carvey had nothing to plug. He earned it anyway with speed impressions, so he plugged his hair salon. Carvey is always funny, and every time I see him, I wonder why we can't get him every week somewhere on television:

The big get of the week was Bill Cosby. While I was watching him perform, I realized how different his approach is from most comedians. The Cos lets his jokes breathe. There's no rush to get through them, or cram as many words in as quickly as possible. He works you to that punchline, thereby building the funny. The man is as sharp as ever, too, as we saw in the interview:

Apparently "10@10" is pretty popular. We got it four times in the past five shows. Here's what I learned.
  • Ashlee Simpson-Wentz (MP) - Ashley Judd denied her an autograph when she was younger.
  • Justin Timberlake - He got bowling shoes for Peyton Manning once, just because Manning thought he worked at the bowling alley.
  • Ben Roethlisberger - He would like to go back in time to be a cowboy.
  • Toby Keith - He's embarrassed to admit he watches The Real Housewives of Orange County and The Jay Leno Show.


A little light on the funny this week in the other spots. "Extreme Johnny," where they take a guy from IT and have him do something "extreme" was spoiled by Leno showing us his zip line injury from rehearsals last week. I did, however, feel bad for hoping that Jay or Johnny would accidentally kick an audience member in the head.

The other bits were the incredibly lame "Meal or No Meal" competition, and a quick run-through of some rejected show ideas before they settled on The Jay Leno Show. The only winner there was the one with Jay as a veteran detective partnered with an impulsive young cat. I could see NBC taking that to pilot.

As always, we'll wrap this up with some of the best of this week's "Headlines"
  • "Rabbi cage 2 ft. x 2 ft x 3 ft w/ siding bottom"
  • "Roasted lack of lamb - $34.95"
  • "Cat found' (picture of possum) "Male. No collar. NOT very friendly, I think he might be scared. Not home broken either."
  • "Stimulus Package!!! Choose Two Dinners & An Appetizer For $19.99 - Others are charging $20.00 for this."
  • "HINI flu"
  • "Erectile Dysfunction - Ask Dr. Bill. Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm a straight-up guy."
  • "Dinner Specials - Vagetarian Fajita"

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