The last 'Jay Leno Show': I watched it so you didn't have to

Oh, that’s right: You weren’t going to watch anyway, were you? Not with a Leno tradition of jokes like this, uttered during the final Jay Leno Show opening monologue:

“Guys on Viagra had erections that lasted longer than [this show].”

“People say, what has changed the most in five months? I’d have to say, Heidi Montag, probably.”

“We were on the air five months. It seems like just yesterday I was telling NBC, ‘This is not going to work.'” (Not funny, and not true: Leno gave a press conference before this series started saying that he might not beat new episodes of scripted dramas scheduled opposite him, but that he would probably beat them when they were in reruns. Didn’t happen.)

Leno started to introduce “a look back” at all he’d done during The Jay Leno Show, but unlike Conan O’Brien’s farewell show, which ran a series of O’Brien’s best Tonight Show bits, all of Leno’s “memories” were just new, unfunny taped bits, such as a bit of manipulated tape that made it look as though Kanye West slapped Leno and stalked off-stage.

Donald Trump showed up via satellite to yell (what else?): “You’re fired!”

Guest Ashton Kutcher assured Jay that this entire past five months “was a punk,” and added — weirdly — that even Conan O’Brien was in on the joke, “acting all angry, doing an Irish accent.”

Leno told guest Gabourey Sidibe that Precious is “so good, some people think it’s a documentary.” Whaaa?

The only semi-spontaneous moment seemed to occur at the very start, when a man in a black leather jacket lingered in front of Leno as he did his usual opening meet-‘n’-greet with audience members, and said something in Leno’s ear. Who knows what he said? It may have been funnier than the hour that followed.

Leno re-takes his prize, The Tonight Show, next month. Looking forward to it?

Follow @kentucker

Comments (170 total) Add your comment
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  • Sean

    Clueless Jay, still joking about being “fired” and “cancelled” when he’s going right back to the dream job he never wanted to leave in the first place. He’s like a bouncer getting fired from a strip club and ending up at the Playboy mansion! I will never watch his “Zombie Tonight Show” (should have been dead, but came back to life), but I expect him to be back in first place sometime between May and September.

    • skiiboski

      Zombie Tonight Show. Love it. Truth is, most of Leno’s TS watchers are brain dead already so the moniker fits perfectly.

      • cutesinglesinthecity

        He is still the best

    • Em

      Zombie Tonight Show – heh

    • Blue Silver

      I’m tuning in. I understood the BS NBC pulled and it was NEITHER Conan’s nor Jay’s fault! I will watch on March 1st. :)

      • Sooner

        I will watch Jay they schould have never replaced him,I Love him. Conan is a FREAK!!!!!!!and not funny!!!Bye Bye Conan! And Ken you need not be a reporter.see both sides!!!!!

      • Reason

        hey sooner aka fucking retard, ken ain’t a reporter he is a critic, he offers his opinion and reporters that offer both sides agree that Jay is fucktard that screws people out of jobs

      • Will

        Shut up, Sooner. Go type some more exclamation points.

      • Sooner

        Sorry, I was momentarily brain dead. What I meant to say is that Leno is completely LAME and he acts like a “R”-word (sorry, I don’t wanna upset my Lady Palin).

      • Shel

        I’m with Blue, I’ll be watching and glad for it. Ken, thru this whole thing, I have read your bias. Perhaps it is your right, though I guess as a reporter of entertainment news, it might be nice if you tried for a more balanced approach. But the part that really worries me about you is that you seem to think Jay must be lying because what he is now saying he told NBC was not what you can quote from published interviews or videos. Seriously, Ken – you think the only way Jay ever talked to and about NBC was to the media? It hasn’t dawned on you that Jay could have told NBC what he really felt about the idea but played good employee to the media? Ken…….seriously, if you really think that, you need to grow up. And if you don’t really think that, then stop choosing to show Jay at his supposed worse just to suit your own bias.

      • Pete

        Wow, a Leno fan AND a Palin fan. Who wouldda thunk?

    • Ted

      Just waiting for CoCo to come back i refuse to watch. the only reason his ratings were so high is old people put him on and fall asleep with the TV on after the first 5 minutes! CO-CO! CO-CO! CO-CO!

      • Sooner

        Go watch FOX

      • Sooner

        And not for Conan – go watch Fox so that you can see the REAL news. Plus, my gal Palin is being featured regularly so that makes it all better. I wish she would have bneen given the Tonight Show over Leno.

      • Will

        Why am I not surprised you watch Fox news?

        Maybe you and Palin can read some nice scribble notes off of her hand and pretend you have a clue whats going on in the world.

  • Kristina

    “Leno re-takes his prize, The Tonight Show, next month. Looking forward to it?”

    I’m going to go ahead and say no.

  • Concerned Citizen

    Hey Ken; YOU SUCK!

    • josh

      lol.That’s so funny, because it’s so true.

    • Sarah

      Hey Concerned Citizen & josh, suck it.

    • Jane

      Why did you bother, Ken? Nobody gives a s–t about Leno. Thanks for taking that bullet though and confirming that he and his show are as lame as ever. Go Coco!

      • Sooner

        I do! but why does he bother because we already know where he stands!

    • michelle

      I’m more likely to watch SVU tonight than Jay. He’s a stiff. I never watched the tonight show w/him because he never surprises. Good job NBC – grow a pair.

    • Bob

      Wow, what a mature comment!

      Leno is unfunny, his bits are stale, and I have no want to watch him on the Tonight Show. Its his brand of humor which makes me happy he did not the American verison of Top Gear, he would try so hard to make it funny it would just fail miserably.

  • Allison

    I will NEVER watch Jay. he was always mediocre in my book, and I’m team Coco all the way. I hope he tanks.

  • Andy

    Ken doesn’t like Jay. Is this breaking news?

    • jhc3

      That’s because Jay is dull and not funny.

      • Devin


  • steve

    Leno should have retired off air. This will go down in history as the worse years of the tonight show EVAR. No, I won’t watch the tonight show again as long as Jay is host.

    • Sooner

      Good he dosent want you to.

  • dakmart

    He wasn’t funny on the Tonight Show the first time around, nor was he funny on The Jay Leno Show, why would he be funny on the Tonight Show again? Jay’s inability to know when to hang it up (and his and his writers’ inability to come up with truly funny material) will only hurt him this time, especially against an energized Dave and a resurrected Conan with something to prove.

  • Nothing New

    I’ve never commented on a board and I’m not a Jay Leno fan, but Ken Tucker’s commentary on anything related to Jay Leno is just really biased and unprofessional.

    • jan


      • Sooner


    • maggie25

      Please, everybody stop saying Ken is biased as if it’s a valid criticism. He is telling you his opinion. You are welcome to disagree, but he has no obligation to present a balanced story, in fact, that is the opposite of the point of an opinion article.

      • Rich

        Exactly. This is his BLOG.

    • ger

      Yes. How dare he have an opinion in a column that’s all about his opinions. Oh, wait …

    • Kurt

      Agree. He acts like a five year old who didn’t get his way so he’s going to whine about it while the rest of the world has already moved on to more important things.

      Hey Ken! The Leno/Connan drama is old news. Isn’t it your job to be discussing relevant topics?

      • jeff

        Kurt, go f u c k yourself, or get your own blog so I don’t have to hear you whine like a three year old.

      • jhc3

        Actually, Kurt, it’s Ken’s job to share his opinion about what’s happening on TV. You and I may have lost interest in the L/C drama weeks ago (if we were ever interested), but Leno’s final show as on last night. Ken is doing his job when he talks about what is currently on TV, not whatever it is you think are “relevant topics.”

    • mike

      Ken’s not a journalist per se. He’s a critic. And critics are allowed to take sides, that’s the whole point. They tell us what THEY like and don’t like. Don’t be stupid.

      • jan

        hey mike – call me stupid again and i’ll take a psychic bat to your knee caps.

      • jem

        hey jan. take a chill pill. jeez, mike has a valid point – critics don’t need to be “fair and balanced” and it’s ok for ken to take a side. plus, as others have already said, it’s HIS blog.

      • jan

        mike can have a valid point w/o calling someone stupid. he deserved a smack for that.

      • Sarah

        Jan, go suck on another lemon. You sound like a pyscho b****.

      • jan

        here we go. f u 2, sarah.

      • J

        Yes of course this is an appropriate place for him to express his opinion but it’s all a bit one-note monotonous. I just wish Ken wouldn’t cover anything to do with Jay Leno anymore because he doesn’t have anything new to say and it’s so predictably negative. I know it’s opinion but couldn’t he be a little bit more analytical so as to produce a more nuanced response.

      • Sarah

        Go eat a bag of s*** Jan

      • jhc3

        J; May I remind you that you’re talking about Jay Leno? “Nuanced” does not apply.
        Jan: When you say something stupid, you set yourself up to be called stupid. Accept the consequences of your actions.

      • wow.

        jan as jhc3 stated, you asked for it. your extreme overreaction is weird and disturbing. you might want to get some anger mgmt therapy.

      • jan

        jhc3: no i will not accept consequences. i have a valid opinion. mike, or you, can disagree all he wants w/o resorting to calling me stupid, which is easy to do anonymously on a website–and much harder to do to someone’s face. i doubt you go around doing that in life. so no, my reaction is not extreme. you don’t walk around calling people stupid because they disagree w you. period. what’s disturbing about that?

      • jhc3

        Jan: If you re-read my post, you’ll see that I didn’t call you stupid, I called what you SAID stupid, and pointed out that when you say something stupid, you do risk being called stupid. That’s okay. Taking risks is good. So please try to calm down, honey. After all, you didn’t even actually say it. You just agreed with something stupid. And I apologize for misstating that. Also–try to follow this–I’m not saying it’s stupid because I disagree with it. I’m saying it’s stupid because it evinces a basic misunderstanding of what an opinion blog by a critic is. I’m not interested in this childishness about refusing to accept our totally predictable dismissal of your comments or about what you do or don’t walk around doing. Okay, sweetie? Now try to get some sleep.

      • jan

        jhc3: you know damn well i’m not your honey or sweetie. if you read my opinion a couple of posts below, you should understand perfectly well why being a blogger doesn’t make you immune from the criticism of being unprofessional or biased. your calling my opinion “stupid”, like that makes it any less rude, is lacking insight.

      • jhc3

        Jan: Learn to proofread, sugarplum, and maybe your posts will have a chance to make some sense.

    • Stephanie Tanner

      HOW RUDE! – He is a critic, its his job to give his P.O.V.

    • dakmart

      For better or worse, Ken Tucker’s sentiments toward Jay Leno are shared by many people in the comedic community, as well as many TV critics, and, it must be said, many viewers — The Jay Leno Show WAS a failure, after all.

      • jan

        granted, leno’s show has been a failure. but the comic community is also pissed about the coco thing. they should also recognize coco’s tonight show was a failure, as much as i also believe coco to be funnier than leno. the market decided. ken tucker has been pro-coco the entire time, in my opinion, in a personal way. that renders his criticism biased. his review of the leno/oprah interview was way biased. he claimed oprah had no sympathy for leno. totally untrue. i’ll go as far to call that a lie. oprah went on for 2 min how people don’t understand how tv works if they’re blaming leno for this.

      • Shel

        Jan, good points. Ken jumped on the anti-Jay, pro-Conan bandwagon and even if he usually gives his POV as a critic, this was a news story – not a performance per se. I have no problem with him thinking Conan’s final shows were the pinnacle of comedy genius (uh huh). I do have a problem with him acting like Jay owns NBC and did all this to Conan. There is a line he should be trying not to cross and when he does, it does call into question his credentials for being a critic to begin with (IMO).

    • SirLizard

      Nothing New, what are you basing this statement on? What is unprofessional about an entertainment reviewer giving his opinion. That IS his profession. You haven’t delineated any points to show how Ken Tucker’s review was wrong. And how exactly could one man’s opinion be wrong anyway? It’s not like his opinion isn’t shared by millions.

  • rebecca

    I am only commenting because I hate Leno and NBC, but mostly Leno. i will never watch his show ever again and he was not even funny on the tonight show that last few years.
    TEAM COCO!!!!!!!!! Leno you are a loser!

    • Shel

      If you hate Leno MORE than NBC, you are a prime example why an entertainment reporter such as Ken Tucker should try to be more unbiased in his REPORTING. But, hey Ken, it was way more fun to be a part of Team CoCo right? Felt like you were one of the cool kids?

  • Joe the Ox

    Actually, I find Ken’s comments to be pretty spot-on as far as Leno is concerned. I’m not going to be watching Leno’s return, though I’m sure many will. I’ve been reading the entertainment postings on MSNBC concerning Conan and laughing my butt off at their unsubtle anti-Coco campaign (no surprise–NBC network). I’m looking forward to the CoCo Show MSNBC claims is being negotiated at Fox. Chuck is the only NBC show I bother to watch. After Chuck’s gone, NBC goes into my unwatched category.

  • rick

    Looking forward to it? Yeah, about as much as my next root canal.

  • Svetlana Monsoon

    Really, Jay? YET ANOTHER joke about being fired? Disingenuous and repetitive til the end. Except, unfortunately, it isn’t the end.

    • court

      Really, Jay? Another joke about Viagra?

      Completely agree, Svetlana

    • Shel

      Conan did jokes about being fired every night right up until the end. He thought it was funny to act like he might have to work in really (apparently to him) demeaning jobs too – like we’re all too dumb to know he was a millionnaire even before the settlement. But, oh silly me, I forgot – Conan or Dave repeating the same jokes night-after-night = cutting edge comedy. It is only repetitive and unimaginative when Jay does it.

  • HadToSaySomething

    I laughed out loud upon reading the title of this article because it’s just what I needed! Thanks for your great commentary, Ken!

  • Kurt

    We get it Tucker, you’re not a Leno fan. But aren’t you a little old to be acting like a high school “mean girl?”

    • last time i checked, it was his job to write his opinion. if you don’t like it, don’t read it.

      • Kurt

        There’s a way to write an opinion column without sounding like a whiny kid.

      • (fu)king Logic

        @kurt: and you have the right (and hopefully, the brain) to not read his blog if you already knew his feelings toward the big chin.. so go s c r e w yourself somewhere

      • Shel

        I love when one person posts something like “He’s a critic – it is his job to voice his opinion!” and then to have every other person repeat it like a mantra. He is not JUST a critic. With this late-night story, he was a reporter – it was a breaking entertainment NEWS story. When his bias affects reporting the story – then it is okay for those of us who don’t agree with what he is doing to mention it.

  • sam

    Jay is the best and funniest host ever. We will watch him in any time slot.

    • jeff

      You need to tell people when you’re being sarcastic Sam. Otherwise, people will think you are an idiot who knows nothing about comedy.

      • Preston

        Wow Jeff, let Sam have an opinion. If he thinks Leno is funnier, that’s his prerogative. No need to be rude about it.

      • (fu)king Logic

        @preston: exactly, just like I think Sam is an idiot if he believes that.. and that’s my prerogative

      • Rebecca

        Preston and Logic- I think Jeff was doing what’s known in the biz as “making a joke.” Obviously, you both have been watching too much Leno.

    • amy

      well, sam-apparently you were the only one

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