Sunday, February 09, 2014

Reconciliations: Jay Leno

I hadn't watched Jay Leno in years except for the occasional time that I really wanted to see one of his guests. Before he was the host of The Tonight Show, Leno was known exclusively for being a stand-up comic, and a great one. I recall seeing him do spots of TV and also remember laughing both at his material and his unusual look.

I recall watching Carson with my dad, not often because he was on so late but on days before or during a school vacation and sometimes on Friday's, I was allowed to stay up. Eventually, I got old enough that I was allowed to stay up and then old enough to make my own decision to stay up. Carson hosted The Tonight Show for 30 years, from 1962 (before I was born), through 1992 (the year I turned 28).

When Leno was announced as the heir to the show, I had been a fan of David Letterman. I didn't know that I wanted Letterman to switch shows but when all of the hoopla over how Dave should have gotten that job started, I was kind of pissed at Leno. Mind you, I was only pissed at Leno because so many other people were, it seemed right and yes, I know that is stupid, but I am telling you how it was (I do stupid shit sometimes).

Regardless, I was curious as to how Leno would put his stamp on The Tonight Show and I was na├»ve at the time to the idea that he altered his style a bit and I don't even know if it's true other than I have heard this from listening to other stand up comics. It didn't matter, I thought he was fine at the time but did notice after a while that he did seem to "vanillafy" (I just made that word up) his work on that show playing to a more conservative audience while Letterman, Conan, and much later, Jimmy Kimmel, targeted a younger, hipper crowd.

As I said earlier, I just tuned out, only watching when there was someone special I wanted to see and I paid no mind. Then, there was the Conan thing. I won't elaborate here, you can Google it. I don't know why I got so offended and in hindsight, whether or not he was a dick really didn't affect me so much.

In the past month or so, I heard so many stories from comics and celebrities about how good a guy Jay Leno is. I watched his last show out of curiosity. In the end, I see no reason for me to harbor any ill will - it's just stupid. Either I watch him and am entertained and enjoy myself or I tune him out, that really is the extent of what my relationship with Jay Leno is.

I do hope that he doesn't pull any more crap and just moves on to whatever is next so that Jimmy Fallon can put his brand on The Tonight Show. I won't call myself a Jay Leno fan but I can be adult enough to not talk smack about someone I don't know. I won't jump on a band wagon that I don't know is running on truth.

In the end, it should be about entertainment.

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