Ken Tucker's TV Prime-Time TV commentary

Tag: David Letterman (41-50 of 62)

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 READ FULL STORY

Howard Stern slams Jay Leno's return to 'The Tonight Show'

Howard Stern went on CBS’ The Early Show to give his reaction to Jay Leno’s return to The Tonight Show. Did Stern have an opinion? Um, yeah: He called Leno “a thief” — “he lifts bits directly from my show — ‘Jay-Walking’ was lifted from my radio show!” — and READ FULL STORY

Jay Leno reclaims 'The Tonight Show,' Letterman acknowledges the return

Jay Leno took back The Tonight Show from Conan O’Brien on Monday night, saying, “It’s good to be home.” Ha-ha-ha, oh, oh, I get it: Conan was a bully who kicked poor Jay out of his own house and stayed on as a squatter until the police (i.e., NBC) gave Jay back his property! Justice prevails!

“I’m a little nervous,” said Leno. “I know Dave and Oprah are watching.”

Meanwhile, over on The Late Show: “My name is David Letterman, same time, same host,” said Dave. “It’s a tough night for my mom; she doesnt know who to watch, Jimmy Kimmel or Jay.”

Leno preceded his monologue with a taped bit in which he was READ FULL STORY

Abby Elliott (cool, funny), Chris Elliott (crazy, funny) on 'David Letterman,' plus the best Jay Leno impersonation ever

Abby Elliott, who’s been given far too little to do on Saturday Night Live this season, made a funny, charming, and dare I say hotsy appearance on The Late Show last night. For Letterman, it was almost a family affair, since Elliott is the daughter of Letterman grad Chris Elliott, who made a funny cameo appearance during Abby’s segment:

You know Chris, right? The Man Under The Stairs? The star of the short-lived cult masterwork Get A Life? The man who did one of the best Jay Leno impersonations ever?:

And of course I don’t need to tell you that Abby’s grandfather is Bob Elliott, half of the great comedy team Bob and Ray. Their low-key, poker-faced routines were the exact opposite of the broader comedy that Chris and Abby do, but no less funny, as on this old Johnny Carson Tonight Show clip (Bob is on the right):

The Elliott clan: a comedy dynasty.

What do you think of Abby, Chris, and Bob?

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David Letterman calls Olympics officials 'hypocrites' after luge death

Last night, after his opening-monolgue jokes, David Letterman sat down at his desk and delivered a casually stinging rebuke to the Olympics official who accused dead luge competitor Nodar Kumaritashvili of making “a mistake… that had fatal consequences.”

“A ‘mistake’?” said Letterman witheringly. “I just wonder if it had anything to do with those exposed steel girders… Don’t blame the kid, for god’s sake,” the host said, referring to READ FULL STORY

David Letterman jokes about Leno-Oprah commercial, Sandra Bullock jokes about Dave and women

David Letterman said last night that his Super Bowl commercial confused his mother: “My mom called and said, ‘David, who was the guy with Oprah and Jay?'”

Biff Henderson also expressed a certain loyalty to Leno. (About three minutes in here.)

A bit later Letterman noted that after the idea was conceived and broadcast, “People thought it was really hot stuff. So I’d like to thank the actors who played Oprah and Jay Leno.”

One of the best parts of last night’s show was seeing Sandra Bullock — who demonstrated that she can catch and throw a football while in high heels — needle Dave.

After showing some amusing pictures taken at an awards show of Bullock open-mouth-kissing Meryl Streep, Dave said with mock-severity, “Well, I guess that’s the kind of thing you people do out in Hollywood,” Bullock shot back, “Oh, I suppose you’ve never kissed a woman before, Dave.” (Occurs about 2:30 in here.)

Glad Bullock has reaped an Oscar nomination even if I haven’t seen The Blind Side, if for no other reason than it means she makes sparky TV appearances such as this one.

Did you watch Dave last night?

For more: Jay Leno talks about the David Letterman – Oprah ad: ‘I want to thank Dave. I was glad to promote his show’

Late Show producer on Leno-Letterman-Oprah Super Bowl spot: Jay wore disguise to taping

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Jay Leno talks about the David Letterman - Oprah ad: 'I want to thank Dave. I was glad to promote his show'

Tonight, Jay Leno couldn’t wait to talk about the commercial he made for The Late Show with David Letterman on his next-to-last Jay Leno Show on NBC.

“I’ll tell you the whole story right after ‘Headlines’!” he yelled as he went to his first commercial break.

In his opening monologue, Leno joked about the commercial he taped with Letterman and Oprah Winfrey. “Letterman and I hadn’t seen each other in 18 years. We’d lost touch. He found me on Facebook. He made a friend request, I accepted… Things are going so well between us, we’re going to go to the Vancouver Olympics  and compete in the two-man luge.”

Later, while seated, Leno told his version of the story.

“It was Dave’s idea,” said Leno. “And when he told me — no matter what animosity there is, among comedians, a good joke is a good joke. It makes all [the hostility] go away.”

Leno told the story, now familiar from the reporting of my colleague Lynette Rice, of the comedian arriving at Letterman’s Ed Sullivan Theater in disguise. “I see Dave, we shake hands, and… it was great to see my old friend again. We talked about the old days; it was really good to see him.”

Then Leno told a joke on his bosses. “The next day an NBC executive calls and says, ‘Jay, we have a problem. We think Dave shot some kind of secret show.'”

To make a long joke short, Leno said that NBC thought the disguised figure was “President Obama… ‘President Obama did a commercial for Dave!'”

Chuckling, Leno concluded, “I wanna thank Dave. I was glad to promote his show.”

What do you think of Leno’s version of the story?

For more: David Letterman jokes about Super Bowl ad with Jay Leno, Sandra Bullock jokes about Dave and women

Late Show producer on Leno-Letterman-Oprah Super Bowl spot: Jay wore disguise to taping

Watch Letterman and Leno declare a grumpy truce during the Super Bowl

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Watch Letterman and Leno declare a grumpy truce during The Super Bowl!

If you thought you’d had a few too many beers seeing Jay Leno, Oprah Winfrey, and David Letterman all sharing a sofa during a Super Bowl commercial, don’t worry. It really happened:

The spot, a commercial for The Late Show, is the biggest TV ad shocker of the Super Bowl, surpassing Tim Tebow with ease.

Letterman and Leno snipe at each other with mock-annoyance, with Dave mimicking Leno’s high-pitched voice. Oprah tries to calm the boys.

Now this is damage control for Leno: Agreeing to appear in a CBS Late Show ad while he’s still finishing out his NBC 10 p.m. show is the coolest thing Jay has done in… ages.

If it also makes Dave the publicity victor — after all, it is a commercial for his show, not the Leno Tonight Show — you have to hand it to Jay for playing along, probably as a slap at the way NBC handled the whole Tonight Show mess.

Now you’ve seen it: What do you think?

For more: Jay Leno-David Letterman-Oprah Winfrey Super Bowl ad was Dave’s idea, says CBS

Jay Leno on 'Oprah': Admits to lying, ridicules Conan's 'Tonight Show': This is damage control?

In a fascinating display of self-pity and hubris, Jay Leno went on Oprah today and really let loose: He said that the plan to return him to The Tonight Show was “a huge mess,” that he’d been “sucker-punched” by Jimmy Kimmel, that he’d lied when he told the public in 2004 he would retire when he left The Tonight Show in 2009, and that there’s “a lot of damage control that has to be done now.” Believe me: There’ll be even more to be done after this Oprah interview.

Jay Leno admitted to Oprah Winfrey that “I told a white lie READ FULL STORY

'Jimmy Kimmel': Last night's anniversary show, with octuplets and wool socks

Jimmy Kimmel Live celebrated its seventh anniversary last night with a party that took its mood from its host: Low-key and modest, with a lot to be modest about. Over the years, he’s grown more comfortable in his role — less frat-boy sloppy, more smooth jokester.

Kimmel’s biggest-name guest was Harrison Ford — not because he and Kimmel have some sentimental bond (although Ford did appear in Kimmel’s “He’s F—ing Ben Affleck” video), but rather because Ford just happens to be out promoting his film Extraordinary Measures. He gave Kimmel a pair of wool socks, which Ford pulled from the crotch of his pants — just the sort of genially vulgar gesture that suits Kimmel.

The only moment of real amusement was Kimmel’s own amazement over the fact that what he called Ford’s “delightful gal pal,” Calista Flockhart, has not seen Star Wars. Oh, and Jimmy’s taped piece on Steven Tyler’s Home Depot tour:

Kristen Bell was Kimmel’s other guest. While she was typically charming and briskly energetic, I kept thinking, this woman is one of Craig Ferguson’s favorite, recurring guests — he elicits so much more funniness from her!

Kimmel’s not working on the same level as David Letterman or Craig Ferguson, of course. I’ve never seen a full hour of Kimmel Live that was solid from start to finish, the way Dave and Craig can occasionally bat out a show with a superb monologue, amusing desk-work, and entertaining interviews. Kimmel’s show tends to be as lumpy as his suits.

On the other hand, in his favor, he’s neither as slick as Leno nor as callow as Fallon; he’s a smart guy who’s always trying to lower your expectations of him, because he knows that’s the way to pleasantly surprise us. Occasionally. Not too frequently.

As long as he occasionally comes up with taped bits as funny as his Matt Damon and talk-show-war videos, Kimmel will always be welcome. Happy anniversary, Jimmy.

What do you think of Kimmel?

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