The Jay Leno Show Got Worse

By Gabe Delahaye / September 16, 2009

I checked out the Jay Leno Show last night, just to see if there had been any egregious bumps in the premiere that might have been ironed out for day two, or any refinement of the show’s tone as it hits cruising speed (of 88 miles per hour, taking us deep into the future). Nope! Not only were no kinks worked out, nor any shift in tone, but the show was actually worse. Someone call the editor of Duh Aficionado Magazine, we have a cover story. I mean, Jay Leno has been doing his late night schtick for 17 years, and this new show is simply a brutish, man-handled extension of that. What is there to work out? What about the tone do you dislike? This show hit the ground running. Or at least hit what it thinks is the ground to do what it calls running.

First of all, and I should have talked about this yesterday, but what is up with Jay’s victory lap when he comes on stage? Stephen Colbert does something like that when he’s playing a character who is an exaggeratedly pompous, self-absorbed megalomaniac, but even he doesn’t have a pre-selected mob from the audience come out to kiss the ring. It is one of the most self-indulgent displays I’ve ever seen.

What an asshole!

There’s no need for another rant about the outdated structure and cultural irrelevance of the late night monologue, but I will point out that Jay Leno, on national TV, in front of millions of people, made a “Kanye West doesn’t care about white people” joke TWO DAYS AFTER THAT JOKE HAD ALREADY BEEN MADE BY LITERALLY EVERYONE. It was not even an original joke two days ago (because of how it is obvious, and not that funny) but to try and bust that one out now? And tonight: Monica Lewinsky jokes, I’m sure.

Then, more unfunny “comedy” bits that we don’t need to talk about.

For the interview segment last night, Jay had Michael Moore to talk about his new movie, Capitalism: A Love Story, which Jay insisted was the best movie Michael Moore had ever made that everyone would love regardless of their politics. Fair enough! Except that his first line of questioning was about Michael Moore’s impulse control, and poking fun at how fat he is? Later, Michael Moore got up and sang a cover of “The Times They Are A-Changin” with no musical accompaniment. Now, regardless of whether or not you like Michael Moore, or thought that singing a cover of “The Times They Are A-Changin” was a good idea, he definitely committed to the song, and stood out there alone on the stage to do something he wanted to do, and the first thing Jay did when he shook his hand was made a joke about what a bad singer Michael Moore is. SOMEONE TATTOO CLASS ACT ON JAY LENO’S FACE SO THAT WE NEVER FORGET WHAT A CLASS ACT HE IS.

And then more stuff like this pre-rehearsed annoying stuff:

Tom Cruise saying he is into “man drama” is the funniest thing that happens all night, and Jay lets it cruise on by (get it? Cruise? Jay likes cars).

Also his pot-shot at Conan? I know that Conan has made lots of fun of Jay since he’s taken of the Tonight Show, which some might criticize as being ungracious, and I think that criticism would be fair. Nevertheless, when you’re the Old God, you have to expect to take your lumps. For Jay to take reverse-pot-shots at Conan just makes him seem like a fucking bully. Which he is. That is how he got this new show in the first place.

Usually, with something like a new late night talk show, it’s unfair to judge or make meaningful observations based on a couple of episodes because these programs are intended, if everything works out, to be on the air for years and years. So what difference does one episode make? But the Jay Leno Show isn’t a new late night talk show. It’s his old late night talk show with a couple of (barely) cosmetic changes, and some very unfunny new interstitial ideas: literally the best that Jay Leno and his team were able to come up with after/during their longest vacation in more than a decade.

This terrible show is even worse than I thought it was going to be!