Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Conan O'Brien Schools Jay Leno in Dignity; Comedy To Continue To Suffer as Result

Jay Leno hasn't been funny on television since he snookered the "Tonight Show" gig out from under the heels of the vastly-more-deserving David Letterman in 1992. In the years hence, Letterman has continued to rock-the-party hard (perchance a little too hard?) while Leno has stripped away every last piece of himself that used to be funny in order to cater to the George W. Bush-fetishizing, teabagging middle-Americans (who hate that goddamn nigger president SO MUCH--but not 'cause he's a nigger but 'cause he's whatever Glenn Beck says he is on the magic talkin' box) that've kept him chin-deep in vintage automobiles.

Leno chose to retire from "The Tonight Show" in 2009--a decision that he had announced five years in advance. When the moment arrived to hand the mantle to O'Brien, Leno--in all his narcissism--balked, making a deal with NBC for a new nightly show that would air before O'Brien. Now that "The Jay Leno Show" has spectacularly (and predictably) failed and with NBC proposing to keep both Leno and O'Brien via a Slap Chop bastardization of "The Tonight Show", Leno has one move to make if he has any modicum of decency and/or respect for his predecessors, his anointed successor, and the art of comedy as a whole--and that move is to actually retire.

So of course, he's not doing that, and Conan O'Brien is leaving NBC.

May Conan find a new show on Fox and crush Leno in the ratings.

[NYT via Movieline]

[UPDATE: In addition to my just being mean about Jay Leno, allow me to supplement it with some more nuanced thoughts from a top-shelf comedian (play the audio at the bottom of the linked page).]


Coggblogger said...

This is NBC's fault, not Jay's. Having said that, Jay should step back - it's Conan's gig.

By the way, I think it's an overly harsh condemnation you're making on people who watched Leno's incarnation of Tonight.

Johnny said...

NBC is most certainly culpable; what doesn't make any sense is that Leno (in last night's monologue) joked about having been "fired" from the Tonight Show. He quit with five years' notice!

As for my harshness, you're right again. But maybe I've based my opinion of the American public from what I've seen on "Jaywalking" (I of course assume that there are never any people who answer the questions correctly and don't make air; otherwise, Leno would have to actually write jokes).