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3 Reasons The Tonight Show Won’t be AS Sucky (Even Though It Will Be…)

March 1, 2010

With all this talk about The Olympics (yes, I know the closing ceremonies were awful), many have forgotten that NBC’s once and future king, Jay Leno, is returning to The Tonight Show tomorrow night. Back at 11:30, Leno will welcome Jamie Foxx, Brad Paisley and Lindse — SNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRE

Sorry about that.

There are still some hurt feelings from the whole Conan/Jay/Tonight Show debacle. To be honest, I find it hard to believe that NBC pulled it off. Douche bag move, for sure, but it’s still quite astounding that they went through with it. Leave it to NBC to surprise me with new ways to fail. Way to go, Jeff Zucker!

But let’s not re-hash the past, let’s look to the future. Tomorrow night marks the beginning of a new (old) phase of The Tonight Show. With that in mind, I’ve highlighted three reasons why the show might not be as horrible as the last time Jay Leno hosted (even though, who am I kidding, it probably will be).

REASON #1: Jay’s been cut down to size

"It's mostly typos and misplaced pictures but the people eat it up, Oprah."

Jay Leno was leaving as top dog. His ratings were still high and he is relatively young. He probably thought people would flock to The Jay Leno Show. But they didn’t and it sucked and now he’s back schlepping it for folks at 11:30. And although he got the better end of the deal, he’s still been taken down a notch or two. I mean, he publicly admitted that his show was a huge, colossal, unprecedented, unrivaled, unmitigated, unparalleled, embarrassing, humiliating, degrading, money-wasting, sponsor-losing, ratings-fleeting joke. That can’t be easy.

This means he’s the underdog and might be willing to, I don’t know, maaaaaaybe try new things. While I don’t think he’ll ever give up Jaywalking (shudder), he might have an extra pep in his step and more desire to earn his viewers back. Maybe better Q & A with the stars, maybe a return of actual comedians. Who knows? One thing’s for sure, Leno has to aim for the fences if he wants to be king of late night again. That should be interesting, to say the least.

Then again, his smug smile and horrible jokes will probably remain. Also, for some reason or another, Middle American loves them some Jay Leno so maybe he won’t change at all. Sigh.

REASON #2: Letterman vs. Leno — Round 2

Battle Royale!

Let’s all face it, we love a good dog fight. And during The Battle of Late Night 2010*, all the hosts were in it to win it. Conan with his nightly decimation of NBC, Letterman with his cuts against Leno, Kimmel with his killer Leno impression. Even Jay was at the top of his game, though I still thought he was a major league D-bag.

So now Leno and Letterman are facing off against one another again, man-to-man, network-to-network. We all know where my loyalties lie (I’ve made no secret that I think Letterman is a genius). Will Leno overcome and reclaim the number one spot? Will Letterman keep his position at the top of the heap? Will their comedic tit-for-tat continue? More insults? More low blows? While it may be dirty and a bit disrespectful, it’ll be damn entertaining.

Or maybe Leno will slip right back into first place and things will go back to the way they were, ensuring Leno NEVER leaves The Tonight Show and ruins comedy for centuries. Dang.

REASON #3: No Kevin Eubanks


Sorry Eubanks fans, Kevin is gone. Gone-zo, split, 86’d, gone, gone, gone. Well, he is leaving anyway. Kevin will stick around for a short while and then move onto other ventures (hopefully said ventures provide a stool for him to sit on. I’ve never seen that man stand once!). Admittedly, I kind of dig Kevin. He can play a mean guitar and gets up every morning knowing that he’ll have to laugh at Jay Leno’s jokes for an hour. He does five days a week, people! And you thought your job was hard.

But, likable as he is, he’s one his way out. Which means NBC will need a new band leader (no offense to Smitty, but that guy can’t run the band. I’m mean, come on. Sorry Smitty). Maybe someone new, young, and hip! Maybe a woman! Maybe a brand new band altogether. Come on, NBC, wow us with your choice! Make it someone well known and respected, someone who can go toe to toe with Jay’s zingers. This could be a real buzz generator.

However, knowing NBC, they’ll probably muck this up and just hire another guy who’ll laugh at everything and grate my nerves with a maddening “wah wah waaaaaaaaaah” from his guitar after each joke. Boo.

Nice try, Smitty

There you have it; three small, itty-bitty reasons why The Tonight Show with Jay Leno might not be as awful as it was in years past. I won’t be watching tomorrow night out of principle (also, I don’t have cable) but I hope someone is, just so I know how bad/good the show ends up being. Like I said, it might not be completely horrendous.

But it probably will be.

*I’m copyrighting that phrase. Hands off, vultures.

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 1, 2010 3:58 pm

    Hey B

    I read a few of your posts and I really like your commentaries. Good job. I’ll be back to read more.

    Mary Ann

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