See Sarah Palin do stand-up comedy. Intentionally. 'The Tonight Show,' night 2...

As I predicted, Jay Leno’s return to hosting The Tonight Show resulted in big ratings, soundly beating David Letterman with his Monday debut (re-debut?). Leno’s first guest last night was Sarah Palin. Jay gave her a chance to explain what he called her “writing on the palm thing.” She referred to it as “the poor boy’s version of the teleprompter” and said she was going to “keep doin’ it.”

Palin met with an enthusiastic response from The Tonight Show audience, which clapped vigorously after almost every one of her comments. Of her new role on Fox News, she said, “I studied journalism… I want to build some trust back in our media.” She decried “the opinion built into the hard-news stories.”

Leno asked her about the Tea Party movement. She described it as “a beautiful thing… an uprising of the people… [with] common-sense solutions.” The host asked whether she thought, should the Tea Party become a third political party, it would attract more Republicans than Democrats. Palin conceded that it “would draw more from the Republican base.”

It was, in the lurching, loopy ways of both talkers, a revealing interview.

After Palin told Leno that her dream used to be to become a sportscaster, “to work with Howard Cosell” (man, would I love to have seen the late, great Cosell trade remarks with Palin in a sports booth), he invited her to do a little stand-up comedy. I guess the idea was just to have some silly fun. There’s no point in saying her gags were bad (“I’m glad I didn’t become vice president — I wouldn’t know what to do with all that free time”) when doing corny jokes was the whole point.

As for the other guests, Shaun White was charming and funny. And Adam Lambert, glammed to near-blindness around his sequined eyes, was fabulous.

Meanwhile, over on The Late Show, Mitt Romney told Dave he thinks Palin is “terrific.” Listen to the audience groan:

And that’s one big difference between the Leno and Letterman audiences… and maybe one reason Leno pulls the bigger ratings?

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Comments (167 total) Add your comment
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  • TorontoTom

    She’s fun on TV but she needs to stay outta politics…

    • Nshi

      I’d hit it. Eskimo style.

      • Ethan


    • wakeforce

      I venture to say Jay and Sarah have the same fans!

      • Shereen

        Yeah, brain dead idiots

      • wino

        umm, no. thanks for making generalizations about 5-6 million people. im liberal as they come, Iwatch jeno, and hate palin. the end. xo

      • lf

        I’m with you wino. Like Jay but can’t stand Palin. The reason why you didin’t hear groans on Leno last night is becuase his audience was being respectful of his guest.

    • Eric

      “She’s fun on TV but she needs to stay outta politics…”
      Same can be said for Obama. Well except the fun part, anyway.

    • Dalena

      Agreed. It is sad that in the US entertainment and politics are often blurred. provides insights onto what leading media think of Palin on the Tonight Show.

  • Ryan

    ugh…..glad i missed it….not that I would watch Jay anyway.

    • Shelley

      Then why did you bother to even read or comment on this Ryan?

      • Mike

        Because its an opinion. Everyone is entitled to one regardless of what it is.

      • harry

        Yeah Ryan? Why?

      • pitt

        I agree with Ryan. It also mentioned Letterman in the title, which is why I read it.

      • Lars

        I’m not a fan of either Leno or Palin, but I still read the article because I don’t want to be ignorant of what the “other side,” so to speak, is doing. Just because you don’t agree with someone doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to them.
        That being said, I respect her opinions and think she belongs with the Tea Party, but just as a member, NOT as a leader.

  • EdZ

    Hi Ken, would you write about “Southland?” It was great, as always, Tuesday night.

    • Ken Tucker

      I have a review up now, EdZ–thanks.

  • Luddite

    So the thing about rebuilding trust in the media via Fox News…that wasn’t the standup?

    • Brent

      Nope pretty stright foward to me. You luddites need to accept postive change and the fact that we have finally have one fair and balance network is postive change!

      • LoliRyder

        You’re kidding, right Brent?

      • Brent

        Nope, the bisis of the other networks has been eviddent for decades now…. IT is really nice to have some fair reporting for a change.

      • Nat

        Fair and balanced? Say what? Like MSNBC, FOX aims at a certain audience, and pitches their stories a certain way. Its no coincidence that the tea party gets so much coverage on FOX, or that Palin is on the network….

        You’re really not joking? The bias in FOX isn’t evident to you?

  • Al R

    I fail to see anything funny about Leno. Will stick with Dave. He’s more clever and a terrific interviewer.

    • Simon

      That’s because there isn’t anything funny about Leno.
      Or stand-up Palin for that matter.

  • UncleWalty

    doing standup “intentionally”
    hehehehehhehehehhe…that’s funny. She’s dumber than a bag of hammers.

    • jmg

      I usually say, ‘dumb as a bag of rocks’.

      I’d rather see a Southland recap. It was great last night.

    • yambo

      you and ken should get a room

      • Amy

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    • joe

      what a gay laugh…

  • Remember in November

    The only liberals were able to gain traction is by going after Palin.often in disgusting, unfunny ways..Now while they face political ruin, she is more popular than ever…and the republicans are winning big time
    Keep up the good work, Libtards!

    • Remember in November

      correction: the only way..etc

    • Matt

      At least most of us ‘libtards’ can speak without checking our palms for crib notes. Personally, I’d love to see more candidates like Sarah. Dems would have a much easier time in mainland elections.

      • dave

        The democrats hate Sarah cuz she is attractive, look at the bull-dyke democratic woman, Rosie McDonalds, Ellen Degenerate, Rachel Maddow and Hillary ‘Big Legs’ Clinton. Yuck!

      • Carlos

        So that’s it, really? Because she’s attractive she wins in terms of rationale and overall effectivity as either a politician or a correspondent? Wow.

      • Lars

        “Bull-dyke,” really? That’s the best you can come up with “dave”? Try focusing on facts and not insulting people like a second-grader.

      • Terry

        Do you really want to compare the looks of democratic women to republican women? I know that whenever there’s a primary or an election, the republicans whip out bo derek, but then it gets kinda slim on the looks. “Big Legs”, nice, of course it you want to compare her with Ann Coulter.

      • phil

        Democrats cheat on the wives because they are ugly. And they even cheat with ugly woman, look at Clinton and Edwards. Have you see the wives of Fred Thompson and McCain. Have you ever noticed how the Democratic woman never where skirts? Rachel Maddow looks like she’s from outer space.

      • phil

        Have you seen the Republican wives of Fred Thompson, Romney and McCain? How come Democratic woman never wear skirts? Even Democratic men who cheat on their wives cheat with ugly woman (Clinton and Edwards).

      • Terry

        Yeah, not like republican men who cheat on their wives(Larry Craig, anyone?)

      • Nat

        How does looks have anything to do with politcal aptitude or effective leadership?
        There are more important things to talk about than the comparative attractiveness of politicians.

      • dave

        UncleWalty likes to go to the park and have little boys sit on his lap and call him Uncle Walty.

      • The Great Unwashed

        If their women are so hot, then why do so many republican men cheat on their wives with dudes?

      • dave

        Oh,they caught your father again?

    • KEH

      Don’t think the Big Oil Companies who she negotiated giant fee increases out that go to the people of Alaska would agree. Dumb is mistaking a Tina Fey Skit for Sucessful Governor.

    • JAC

      I can’t wait for November because the cocky dumbass self-serving hypocritical republicans are going to lose.

      • dave

        Gay loser!

  • Mark Cubbins

    fabulous? Adam Lambert? Are we listening to the same screaming banchee?

    • Anita


      • Rachel


    • dave

      You missed the point Carlos (dummy) Typical uneducated and ignorant Democrat. I said that’s why you guys hate her. I was not talking about her qualifications for office. Wise up. Go to school Ubaldo! And pay attention this time.

      • Gena

        No, as a Democrat, I “hate” her because she is stupid. Clear and simple.

      • Tom

        Interesting…so what is your opinion of Joe (Foot in Mouth) Biden then?

      • UncleWalty

        honestly Dave, I thought most Republicans were ignorant and uneducated, which would explain why Rush, Glenn, Bill O, and Hannity are so popular. Thanks for clearing that up.

      • Tom

        I wouldn’t lump O’Reilly with the rest of them. That guy is a pretty intelligent dude.

      • dave

        Yeah, Uncle Walty, democrat, sitting home today, unemployed

      • UncleWalty

        I’m at work, Dave. In my office. Dummy.

      • dave

        Uncle Walty, Democratic Slacker, employed for a Republican owner and playing around instead of working. I own my own company. Whos’ the dummy, Democrat?! Go suck a rairoad spike.

      • UncleWalty

        I own my company too, Dave, and I’m making money hand over fist. You know nothing…

      • dave

        probably a flower shop or abortion clinic

      • UncleWalty

        You’re awfully bitter, aren’t you Dave? Wouldn’t it be great if Sarah Palin were president, so then you could be happy?

        P.S. it’s a tech firm. Stop making assumptions.

      • dave

        I don’t want Sarah Palin to be President and I don’t mind if people attack her policy positions, I just don’t understand why the personal attacks. Especially if you Democrats are as intelligent and informed as you say you are. We used to be able to have good debates and back & forth on the issues in this country until the Democratic pettiness set in. What happened to you guys?

      • UncleWalty

        if you want a reasoned and reasonable debate, you should probably stop referring to people who disagree with you as “dummy” and “ignorant” and “uneducated.” Give respect and you’ll get it.

      • dave

        Please refer to your initial remarks on 3/3 at 9:18am

      • UncleWalty

        politicians are fair game. And there’s a difference between criticizing public officials and showering abuse on people who don’t happen to hold the same opinions as you do. Here’s another tip: why don’t see if you can refrain from the bigotry. Bull-dykes? Really?

      • dave


      • UncleWalty


      • phil

        Go feed your mother Queer!

      • dave

        UncleWalty likes to go to the park
        and have little boys sit in his lap and call him Uncle Walty.

      • UncleWalty

        gee Dave, I bet you spend a lot of time thinking about little boys sitting on someone’s lap. I just hope yer mommy doesn’t walk in on you when you’re doing it. That would be embarrassing for you

      • dave

        You’re Uncle Walty queer bait!

    • Brent

      Agreed, Lamberts 15 min is over, the people rejected his album, will EW let it die…and quit trying to sell this off brand off key “singer”

      • jared4ever

        Speak for yourself. I am still a huge fan of Adam Lambert’s as are millions of others.

      • Mandy

        Well, Brent. Adam’s album went gold and Canada a few weeks ago, his single just went gold, and his first three solo concerts were sold out. And I will go by what the music legends like Smokey Robinson, Slash, Queen, Meatloaf and movie directors like Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton, Rob Marshall say – they think he is an amazing talent as do millions of others around the world. Other countries are embracing him and they laugh at America for not appreciating this one in a billion talent. For those of you who think Adam cannot sing or that he screams, I dare you to listen to Brigadoon on YouTube.

      • Cathy

        Adam will be around for a long time.

      • Mandy

        Hey Brent, Adam’s album went to #1 in pop itunes in Australia after only one performance on So You Think You Can Dance Australia. I wouldn’t doubt that he’ll go gold there too. He was also trending on Twitter for hours. They love him there.

    • Jack

      Errr what? Can you hold a tune like that bro? Like his style or not, he nevers goes off-key. He has pipes and he pulls them in when he wants

    • …………………….

      Errr what bro? Can you hold a tune like that lol…? Do you have well respected musicians gushin’ over ya like he does? Why can’t you people just accept the fact that he is polarizing and knows it. Just focus your interest elsewhere. Like his style or not, it doesn’t make him any less talented. You don’t just find singers with a 5-range voice (meaning you can literally hit every note on the guitar) and barely EVER go off-key, everyday. Did you see his acoustic version of Whole Lotta Love and his song Broken Open? His voice is fkn UNREAL. And he blew it out the box last night. His voice is MAD versatile, and he is hilarious and mad smart to boot.

    • lol

      Errr what bro? Can you hold a tune like that lol. Or do you have well respected musicians gushin’ over you like he does? Why can’t some people just accept the fact that he is polarizing and focus their interest elsewhere. Like his style or not, it doesn’t make him any less talented. You don’t just find singers with a 5 range voice — meaning you can literally hit every note on the guitar — and barely EVER go offkey, everyday. See his acoustic version of Whole Lotta Love and his song Broken Open? His voice is UNREAL. And he blew it out the box last night. His voice is ridic versatile, and he is hilarious and mad smart to boot.

    • J

      I rewatched his performance about 6 times in a row. It was great.

  • Cookie

    More Adam Lambert and less Sarah Palin!

    • Brent

      Disagree with ya Cookie:
      Lambert’s 15 min is over, the people rejected his album, will EW let it die…and quit trying to sell this off brand off key “singer”

      • LindaT

        Brent, repeating the same incorrect comment over and over isn’t going to make it true.
        You’ve rejected Lambert, that’s fine, he’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But the guy has a lot of fans. I wouldn’t write him off just yet.

      • Kevin

        Interesting claim to be making on the very day his latest single is certified Gold.

      • PDN

        LOL, do you live under a rock or is that just your wishful bigoted thinking?

        Lambert’s followers on Tw.itter went up by 3000 since last night. His fanbase grows by thousands every day.

        His single just went Gold like his album.

      • Mandy

        His album went gold in US and Canada and his first three solo concerts were sold out. Legends in the music industry like Smokey Robinson, Queen, Slash, Meatloaf and many more think he is amazing. Famous movie directors like Tim Burton, Rob Marshall, Brian Springer have expressed they they want to work with him. Brent, what are you not understanding here? A gold album in two countries is not “rejected”. Kris Allen, the WINNER, only sold half of what Adam did.

  • Mike in IN

    Sarah’s great. No, she shouldn’t run for prez but she’s a great conservative controversialist. She better looking than the left-of-ozone James Carville and just as acerbic. I like it that she makes libs apoplectic. The truth hurts.

    • keith

      the only reason she makes anyone apoplectic is she’s so out of touch with the truth.

    • Rachel

      Really? Better looking than James Carville? That’s the bar?

      • dave

        For democratic women it is

  • boym

    Sarah rock the show and she is amazing! Maybe the media should spend some of that energy retracing the life of Barack Obama

    • colin

      It’s been pretty well-documented in these things called “books.”

    • Shereen

      Palin is a willfully ignorant hypocrit, and a quitter. What has she actually accomplished? I hate McCain for introducing this famewh ore to the world.

      • Grog

        Maybe you should try reading about her accomplishments in her life in politics in Alaska. She’s achieved 50 times more than Obama ever has. She’s been an executive most of her adult life, not like the moron Obama. He was a professor, professional community organizer and has swaggered his way through life not really holding any job of substance. The absolute total stupid ignorance of people that hate Palin and don’t even know why never fails to make me want to tear out my own eyeballs …

      • NT

        In what world is a community organizer or professor not a “job of substance”?
        You know, I always thought those people whose job it is to educate just suck….and working for your community? Just terrible. Do you detect the sarcasm?
        I live in BC, Canada, just south of Palin’s home state. Being in close proximity, we’ve heard about her “accomplishments” over the years.

      • james

        Obama never ran a business, never ran a military unit, never ran an executive office in government. The only thing he has run, is his mouth!

    • Ben

      Palin is a complete parody of herself.
      A retar.d. A moron. A nutjob.

    • Cathy

      Sorry they should have skipped her and put more time into Adam and Shaun.

  • yambo

    As always, Ken Tucky is a partisan dbag. It’s the reason I cancelled my subscription to EW.

    • JurryL

      if you canceled your subscription to EW then why are you on the website?

      • Mike

        Because it’s free..? Moron

    • jmg

      I don’t see anything partisan in the article. Ken is just recapping the shows. You’re just sensitive because deep down you know she’s a dumb as a bag of rocks.

  • Two Words

    Adam Lambert! Why was he not interviewed? He is my gay husband!

    • Anita

      Oh no, sweetheart…HE’S MINE!!!

      • Kelly

        Ha Ha , love Adam. What charisma!

    • Kevin

      The late night shows don’t usually interview the musical guests. Jays 10pm show did, however, and I thought that was one of the nicer things about it actually.


      There’s a backstage interview on Leno’s site with Bryan Branly interviewing Palin, White and Lambert. This site doesn’t accept links, does it.

      • RT

        Shaun White, Sarah Palin and Adam lambert…the lion, the witch and the wardrobe.

  • Ashley

    I agree…why cant we get an article about Southland. I caught the marathon yesterday on TNT and was hooked! What a great show….oh and Sammy…you need to lose the wife!

  • LivingInFear

    Cave girl funny. Ha ha! She cook good meet on fire after kil it. I am voter and will vote for cave girl again just point at rite box to check i will do it. Smart dark man scare me and famly hiding in suburb cave with truck and gun reddy for end of world. To bad world end after only 6 thousind yeers. Pet dinasore even scare of dark man. teech him to bite and growl like flying iron bird in sky. World shood not be run by smart peeple they make you think too hard about stuff. I want more cartoons on tv sara is a good one. long live the good old days.

    • Anita

      Do us all a favor and stay in your cave.

    • Mathew

      LMAO why are you typing like that??
      Her supporters are as braindead as this goofy, cold is.

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