Around the town
Let me say something in complete honesty: I have never watched a full episode of The Tonight Show. I mean, I get why people like it, or at least intellectually I do: Jay Leno is a man of the people! He loves cars! His jokes appeal to the lowest common denominator and his sketches are so completely innocuous as to not offend anyone (except the celebrated figures they mock,) that they actually transcend themselves to pieces of bizarre performance art.
But as Leno left his perch as the host of The Tonight Show for the third time last night–waved off the stage by a host of celebrity friends and MC’d in the most ridiculous music segment of all time by Billy Crystal–I just had to pause for a second. This is a time for reflection, to actually sit and look at the broad expanse of 5,742 shows (approximately) and ask “What the hell WAS that?”
Don’t worry, Bloomberg News and New York Times reporters: you get to stay in China. Some worried China wouldn’t renew the journalists’ press passes after they published stories about the wealth of certain members of Chinese government. (Reuters)
Backstage at Madison Square Garden’s Stand Up for Heroes benefit, a double-amputee veteran waited with his mother, as he prepared to go onstage to fulfill his—and probably many other people’s—lifelong dream of playing backup for Bruce Springsteen. Nearby stood a 76-year-old man with one eye clouded over with a diabetic cataract. That man approached the veteran and said, “What happened to you?”
“I lost them in the war,” the young man replied, referring to his lower legs.
The old man fixed his good eye on the veteran and patted him twice—thump, thump!—on the thigh. “Oh yeah, you lost them?” he grinned. “Well, where did you put them?”
A moment of silence passed. And then another. And then the man’s mother began to laugh.
Late Night News
“Week one: The honeymoon is over. Week two: The administration is over.” — Sam Donaldson on This Week With David Brinkley, Jan. 31
Yup, it’ s been a pretty bad two weeks for Bill Clinton on TV, but that’s show business and, anyhow, Mr. Clinton’s earned it. It’s a bloody game and, yes, the media is a bunch of jackals, but this new Administration has declared itself ready to fight on its own terms. They’re the ones who’ve decided to try and sail right over the press into the TV cameras, to body-mike the President and let him Reaganize directly to his constituency.
Last night, Barack Obama was the guest on what appears to be a still-Jay Leno-hosted Tonight Show. Really? Who knew. Huh. Thought Jimmy Fallon had already taken over with all the fuss being made about him being named the successor to sit Johnny Carson’s old studio, but guess that’s not till February of next year. (Yes, we know Tonight with Leno still gets the best ratings.)
It was an odd show, mainly because it was such a serious show. Also, it was not a very funny show (despite it being President Obama’s birthday!). It seemed more like an episode of Larry King Live or Meet the Press, but with less interruption from the host. Really, P.O.T.U.S. just spoke about anything that was on his agenda–a lot of Snowden, a lot of Russia, a lot of Obamacare– with just occasional prompting from the all-to-eager Leno, whose ratings last night were the highest they’ve been since the last time Obama was on. Check out the segments, and analysis, below.
The Tonight Show
David Letterman appeared genuine as he mused on New York City’s latest sex scandal last night.
“I can forgive anybody of almost anything except pretending and wanting to be ‘Carlos Danger,’” the Late Night host said as he marveled over allegations that Anthony Weiner–who admitted yesterday to continued sexting after his sexting-induced resignation from Congress–used the nickname “Carlos Danger” for some of his escapades.
“Once you identify yourself as Carlos Danger can you really be Mayor of New York City?” Mr. Letterman asked.
Wednesday’s official announcement from NBC that Jimmy Fallon will be replacing Jay Leno on The Tonight Show was the culmination of months worth of speculation, rumors and gossip. When the media learned that Mr. Fallon was not only moving the show back to New York, but would be hosting the program from Johnny Carson’s old studio, the comparisons between this latest drama and the bitter NBC late-night feuds in the past–Conan vs. Leno, Leno vs. Letterman–were inevitable, despite the network trying to play off the move as amicable. Hell, trying for the 11:30 (or now, technically, 11:35) slot on NBC is more of a political bloodsport than Game of Thrones, with at least twice as much backstabbing and allegiance shifting. (Though less decapitation … that we know of.)
Here are the five best rumors about the new Tonight Show, along with any responses from NBC or its players.
Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Kimmel Live (2003-present): George Clooney
Ellen DeGeneres, The Ellen DeGeneres Show (2003-present): Jennifer Aniston
Jimmy Fallon, Late Night (2009): Robert DeNiro
- Conan O’Brien, The Tonight Show (2009-2010): Will Ferrell
NBC has confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that it cut late-night star Jay Leno’s salary by fifty percent as part of an attempt to control spending.
Strange news from the late-night wars as a third army is now mounting legitimate competition to Jay Leno and David Letterman. Jimmy Kimmel’s Jimmy Kimmel Live on ABC is beating Mr. Leno’s NBC Tonight Show, the traditional late-night leader, by four percent of viewers in the valuable 18-49 demographic; Mr. Kimmel’s second half Read More