There used to be a website called Fire Joe Morgan. Their shtick was to take a sports-related newspaper column or TV rant and tear it apart, sometimes sentence by sentence.
Today I'm going after some guy named Terry Gardner, who wrote a rather flaccid defense of Leno on a major political blog.
NBC and Jeff Zucker deserve hazing. In 1775, we would have tarred and feathered them. But cut Jay some slack.
Yeah, leave good ol' nice guy Jay alone! He's just mindlessly following his upper-management masters like any good corporate shill.
Jay didn't feather his 10 o'clock bed -- Jeff Zucker and the peacock did.
Yes, Jeff Zucker is an incompetent douchebag, but I didn't realize he held Jay Leno at gunpoint and forced him to half-ass it through the lowest rated, most critically despised prime time show in television history. I thought Jay took the job because he's a greedy attention-whore. My bad.
I don't want talk at 10. I want comedy, drama or variety (like the old Carol Burnett show) at 10. So does most of America.
Wrong, fuckface. America wants drunken oral sex at 10. When we can't have that, we'll settle for scripted dramas. You know, the kind NBC jettisoned to appease Leno's massive ego.
In 2004, Zucker and NBC decided Jay should retire in 2009, so they wouldn't lose Conan O'Brien to Fox.
Jay had ALL the power in 2004; all of it. All he had to do was shitcan the idea and Conan would have been free to go to Fox and either succeed or fail on his own terms. Instead, he allowed NBC to string Conan along, actively contributed to Conan's poor ratings with the shittiest lead in ever, and then openly campaigned for his old job back after a few short months.
In the spring of 2009, the "not yet ready to retire" Jay graciously surrendered his throne to Conan. He was willing to give 10 p.m. a shot.
By giving 10 p.m. "a shot" he undermined and cheapened Conan's show. Suddenly, Conan had to compete for guests with his own network. That doesn't sound like a gracious surrender to me.
When Johnny Carson retired it was his idea, not NBC's.
If you believe Bill Carter, who wrote a book on the subject, Carson was forced out by bungling NBC execs at the behest of Leno's ruthless ex-manager. But why let facts get in the way of a fuckwit opinion, right Terry?
So why is anyone surprised that Jay would want his time slot back, when it was never his choice to "retire" in 2009?
Jay made the following statement on NATIONAL TELEVISION in 2004:
“When I took this show over, boy there was a lot of animosity between me and Dave, and who’s gonna get it, and quite frankly, a lot of, what I thought, were good friendships were permanently damaged. And I don’t want to see anybody ever have to go through that again. Because, you know this show is like a dynasty, you hold it, and then you hand it off to the next person. And I don’t wanna see all the fighting and all the ‘who’s better’ and nasty things back and forth in the press, so right now, here it is, Conan, it’s yours, see you in 5 years buddy. Clear enough?”
Yeah, that was pretty clear. Again, that quote was broadcast coast to coast on what was at the time a major television network. It seems like Jay made the "choice" to retire rather than screw over Conan in the same manner Letterman got screwed; and then when the time came, he made the "choice" to go back on his word. Did he mean what he said in 2004? Doesn't matter. He said it in front of the world. Either way, Jay Leno is a fucking liar. It's just a matter of whether he's been one for months or years.
Then the author tells a few anecdotes to back up his assertion that Jay is just a misunderstood saint.
When Jay was Johnny's guest host once a week, I was pursuing stand up comedy, and I sold him a few jokes. We never met, but we had a couple of interactions.
When I first read this, I feared a glory hole story was in the works.
Before the '92 election, I submitted a joke about Pat Buchanan: "Pat Buchanan has a cure for poverty -- he wants to place a box tax on the homeless."
No wonder this guy is a Leno supporter. The tragically unfunny tend to stick together.
I was thrilled when I heard Jay deliver that joke. Just hearing a comedian you admire deliver your joke is a gift in itself.
I'll wait while you clean the vomit off of your computer.
But then I didn't get paid, and I did want the money too. So I faxed the number where I submitted jokes (back before email). I re-faxed the submission that included the box tax joke and asked to be paid for it. In less than 24 hours, Jay Leno called my home and left a message on my answering machine. He apologized and said he writes and sees so many jokes that he thought he had written the joke in question.
Oh, so you called Jay Leno out for stealing your joke so he went ahead and paid you? That changes everything! I'm sure the support staff at Conan's show, the ones who aren't millionaires and moved their families from New York to Los Angeles, just fell in love with Jay all over again! Yeah, they're jobless and 3,000 miles from family and friends, but Jay Leno once acknowleged a mistake to a hack fucking joke writer. All is well!
All I expected was to get a check for $50. Jay didn't have to call and apologize, but he did -- because it was the right thing to do.
And because it's easy for Jay to do the right thing when it's only going to cost him $50 and a phone call.
And as a baby stand up comic at the time, I really appreciated it. I still have the answering machine tape. I saved it because Jay sounded like such a nice, decent guy.
He originally added, "In fact, I often pound off in front of a funhouse mirror to the sounds of Jay's whiny voice," but his editors made him take that part out.
My last contact with Jay's office was shortly before he ascended the Tonight Show throne.
All hail King Jay and his Empire of Crap!
I had submitted some jokes and included a funny story I heard in church. Pastor Tony Campolo was trying to motivate parishioners in Philadelphia to get out and vote, when a little old lady stood up and said: "If God had wanted me to vote, he would have given us candidates."
That MAY have been funny if you were there. But we weren't there, were we? Not funny.
Jay began making the rounds on talk shows as the heir apparent to Carson. In almost every appearance, his election year observation was that "if God had wanted us to vote, he would have given us candidates." Suddenly, I worried: What's the penalty for stealing jokes in church?
See, this is the comedic arc of that joke:
1) Uttered by a cranky old lady in church? Funny.
2) Repeated by a struggling comedy writer? Not funny.
3) Appropriated by a famous comedian as political wisdom? Pathetic.
I didn't want $50 for myself -- it wasn't my line, but I worried that the Big Guy -- God, might be mad at me.
First, thanks for clearing up who you meant when you said "Big Guy". At first I thought you were talking about Art Carlson, station manager of WKRP. Also, God is mad at you, Terry. He's pissed that he created you free of obvious mental and physical deficiencies and placed you in one of the few locations on Earth with abundant food and water, only to have you repay Him by thinking Jay Leno is funny. God fucking hates you, dude.
I got in touch with Jay's office, explained my fears -- worried that I'd stolen a joke in church. I asked if Jay would make a $50 contribution to Tony Campolo's ministry. He did.
Jay's office? Here's the conversation that took place, I'm betting:
Underling: "Some fucking nutjob is worried he's going to hell because he sent Jay a joke he heard in church."
Sycophant: "Jesus, is this the asshole with the Pat Buchanan joke?"
Underling: "Yeah, same guy."
Sycophant: "Here...here's fifty bucks out of my own pocket. Anything to get this looney prick to leave us alone."
Jay Leno is a nice guy. He's not stealing Conan's job any more than Conan snatched Jay's job back in 2004.
Erroneous! Erroneous on both counts! Jay is a backstabbing hypocrite. Conan wanted to know his options before he resigned with NBC. That's all. Conan was ready to go to Fox and would have made a lot more money had he left. He stayed because "nice guy" Jay gave his word that The Tonight Show would be his after five years.
But enough of this Terry Gardner prick. David Letterman, as usual, had the best, most bitingly sarcastic comment on all of this:
"I know Jay's a humanitarian, because every time I pick up the newspaper there's Jay helping someone who ran out of gas or stopping to fix their flat. He's a humanitarian and a man of the people...he will, of course, do the right thing. He will probably, if I had to bet, step aside and let Conan continue as the host of The Tonight Show. Because that's the kind of guy he is, putting others first."
It's funny because he knows it isn't true.