The Tonight Show with Jay LenoLatest News and Opinion
Posted Friday 8/10/18 at 6:01AM EDT
Jay Leno appears quite comfortable being the "timeless, deathless supervillain of the late-night-talk-show universe"
Source: The Ringer
On Marc Maron's WTF podcast this week, the former Tonight Show recalled his late-night wars with David Letterman, Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Kimmel -- whom he reconciled with last year. The interview is notable in that Maron is a Conan ally, having been a regular on Conan's talk shows since 1994. As Rob Harvilla notes, "both of Leno’s major Tonight Show transgressions are hilarious to even contemplate now. The context is collapsing. The Conan debacle is less than a decade old but feels positively ancient: You boys were arguing about time slots? And comprehending his original sin—beating out Letterman as (Johnny) Carson’s successor in ’92—depends on your ability to still view the two candidates as different species." Harvilla adds: "The whole Maron interview is spectacular ... Maron’s goal is to get his guest to express regret, to apologize, to grovel at the feet of his many haters, from Howard Stern to Conan himself. But Leno doesn’t need, or at least doesn’t want, a redemption narrative. 'Who do you tackle? The guy with the ball,' he explains, affable as ever in reliving all that criticism and outright enmity. 'The quarterback. And to me, The Tonight Show was the ball.' In the end, (Leno) was merely a victim of his outrageous success. And so were we." ALSO: Leno is tired of complaints over political correctness: "This is why I don't bitch about political correctness, because to me, times change. Change with the times or die."
Posted Wednesday 7/11/18 at 1:35PM EDT
"Stuttering John" Melendez is shopping a reality show after pranking President Trump
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
After recently making headlines for pranking Trump with a phone call to Air Force One, Melendez has signed a deal to star in a reality show that will be pitched to various networks. The proposed show would feature some of Melendez's antics that he became famous for in his 16 years on The Howard Stern Show, including prank calls and man-on-the-street segments. An appearance on the 2003 ABC reality show I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! led to his hiring on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, first as an announcer and later as a writer.
Posted Friday 6/29/18 at 5:15PM EDT
Jay Leno's former Tonight Show announcer pranked White House into getting President Trump to call him
John Melendez, who became famous as Howard Stern sidekick "Stuttering John," got the president to call him back from Air Force One after posing as New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez. Melendez played the prank call on his podcast. The screw-up has left the White House scrambling to figure out how Trump ended up placing the call, especially since his legislative team tried to kill the call in advance after learning that the U.S. senator wasn't trying to reach the president. "Stuttering John" was a prominent part of The Howard Stern Show for 16 years, famous for his ambush celebrity interviews. In 2003, he competed on the ABC reality show I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, which led to a guest spot on The Tonight Show. Based on that appearance, Leno hired Melendez as his announcer in 2004, which angered Stern and resulted in a years-long feud between the shock jock and Leno. Melendez worked for Leno until his Tonight Show ended in 2014.
Posted Friday 5/18/18 at 11:54PM EDT
Why Cheers still matters 25 years after its series finale
Cheers ended its 11-season run on May 20, 1993 with 93.5 million Americans watching, the second highest-rated TV series finale of all time after M*A*S*H. "For all its highs and lows, Cheers represents a pinnacle of American pop culture, culminating in a record-breaking finale that caught the attention of millions of viewers," says Tyler Coates. "Twenty-five years after its final episode, Cheers remains one of the great American sitcoms." Coates visited the Cheers bar in Boston not that long ago, and says of the experience: "Being there was a reminder that TV is ultimately important; it’s one thing that can unite us all when we’re at our most divided, and the best TV show can appeal to everyone subtly enough that the audience might not actually realize how much they have in common with the others who watch it. Many years later, after all, we are still thinking about Cheers because it's still so present in the TV we consume today—and because it's nice to think about the distant past, relatively less fraught than our present, and ignore the problems of the world that didn't seep into the entertainment we enjoyed."
- Creators Glen and Les Charles and James Burrows look back at the series finale and the potential of a revival
- Cheers had one of the greatest closing scenes in TV history
- Here are nine essential episodes for getting caught up on Cheers
- May 20 is also the 25th anniversary of the Cheers cast getting wasted live on Jay Leno's Tonight Show from Boston
- At the time, Leno called the infamous live episode "a huge mistake. But that's OK. You win some and lose some"
Posted Wednesday 1/10/18 at 6:16PM EST
Jay Leno says the trouble with late-night nowadays is “it’s all depressing Trump stuff”
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
“And they all do a great job,” the former Tonight Show host tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Seth Meyers is a great writer; Jimmy Kimmel” — whom he made peace with last year — “does a good job; Jimmy Fallon does a great job. I like Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah (on Comedy Central) and Samantha Bee (on TBS). The trouble is that there's such negativity now. When I did the show, Bush was dumb and Clinton was horny and it was human problems. Now it's all anti-women, anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim, anti-Mexican, anti-Salvadorian; it's such a negative thing. God bless all the late-night hosts, they make it funny, but ultimately, it's depressing. You don't really watch late-night TV to get away from reality anymore; now it's more in your face. You laugh but then you go to bed going, ‘Oh man, the world is really pretty rough.’ And it's not, it's one man that causes all these problems!” When asked if he would be willing to do a talk show-like series like David Letterman is doing for Netflix, Leno says, "not really. I like what I'm doing. To me, I like talking to regular people and seeing what I can draw out of them. I'm sure Dave will be excellent, he always does a good show."
Posted Friday 10/20/17 at 1:55PM EDT
Jay Leno pays tribute to David Letterman: “There was no animosity there”
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
“The one thing about Dave was, even when he was mean to me, it was funny, and that's all that matters,” Leno says in a Hollywood Reporter tribute to his former friend/late-night rival, who is being honored this weekend with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. “I haven't spoken to Dave recently,” the former Tonight Show host adds. “He can be a quirky character. It's just Dave being Dave. When I see him with the beard, I smile because other people go, ‘Why does Dave have that beard? He looks creepy.’ That's just his sense of humor. But I'm thrilled that Dave is getting the Mark Twain award.” ALSO: Watch more than eight hours of Letterman interviewing Leno.