Monday, September 14, 2009

Talk Show Fail

Of all the late night talk show hosts, I've always felt that Jay Leno was at the bottom, specifically in terms of his ability to conduct an interesting interview. His questions are boring, his segues are clumsy, and you can pretty much hear him rattling off the guest's tip sheet as he talks to them.

Provide 3 things Jay should ask you:
- If I drive fast, because I have a really funny story about getting a speeding ticket
- How I get along with my inlaws, because my mother in law is really odd
- If I have any pets, because my new puppy crapped on my rug and it was hysterical

So after all the hype about the new "The Jay Leno Show," I was kinda hoping things might be a little different this time around. But alas, it wasn't.

In fact, all they really did was move him up an hour and a half and take away his desk, which to me looks awkward. Either Jay hasn't gotten comfortable yet sitting in a padded chair out front, or he's gotten too comfortable sitting in a padded chair out front. Either way, I'm not comfortable looking at the bottom of his shoe as he sits back with his right ankle crossed over his left knee. It just looks strange.

Anyway, like I said... I was hoping something would have changed to make this experience a little different, but tonight's show contained the exact same format. A monologue rife with predictable jokes, a waaayyy too long video clip of a comic I'd never heard of goofing off at a car wash, and even his trademark Headlines routine.

I loved how Jerry Seinfeld put it when referencing Leno's last show with "all those children on stage" by calling this new one his "I guess I didn't get fired by NBC" show. "In the '90s, when we quit a show, we actually left," he says, "but not in the Brett Favre-Lance Armstrong double-ohs."

But the low spot of the evening for me was his interview with Kanye West. I don't think there's a person on the planet who doesn't think West's display at the VMAs wasn't unforgivable, and even though his apology with Leno tonight was poorly acted and not even close to rectifying what he did to Taylor Swift, he at least manned up and faced his music.

But then Leno, seizing a prime-time opportunity to score some ratings points at West's expense, decided to bludgeon him to death with his own one-two punch of insensitivity. Almost as if his apology wasn't spectacular enough.

Knowing full well that the death of West's mother a year ago was painful for him, Leno stabbed him with this:

"I was fortunate enough to meet your mom and talk with your mom a number of years ago. What do you think she would have said about this?"

Really? That's your angle? Throw down some dead mom guilt? What the hell do you think she would have said about it?

But the stabbing wasn't over. After West choked back tears for several seconds in awkward silence, Leno got impatient and decided to twist the knife even further when he asked him yet again:

"Would she be disappointed in this? Would she give you a lecture?"


Anyway, that's my review of The Jay Leno Show. I wasn't a huge fan before, but at least there was always some drama show in this time slot to fall back on in the past. Now I'm just stuck with David Caruso on CBS.

That's a tough call.


Sornie said...

I reviewed this tripe before it aired yesterday. And then to further punish myself I actually watched the show. And it sucked. Hard. At times it was almost uncomfortable. The only time I chuckled was during one of the taped bits not featuring Leno. And why does Kevin Eubanks sit on a stool while playing his guitar? Paul Shafer doesn't have a stool at his array of keyboards? I can only hope that this show fades fast and NBC realizes that the same crap at a different time doesn't cut it. But it pulled in a 15.9 share in the Twin Cities last night which CRUSHED everything else. Oh well, we'll see how it fares next week against new programming on CBS and ABC.

Unknown said...

You can always watch Operation Repo on TruTV. I can handle that MUCH better than watching "Superman" on CSI: Miami.

Word verification: preig

David Caruso is suck an arrogant preig!

robkroese said...

Ugh. Thank God for TiVo.

mom said...

Yup---you are SO right. As Dad said half-way thru the show--"enough of this crap"---and marched off to bed. And I turned off the T.V. and headed for the shower---I was really dissapointed.

PG said...

concur. I DVR'd it as I was watching football. I really wish they had done something fresh. they had hyped the hell out of it being new and different. it was same and safe. boring.

Unfinished Rambler said...

While I'm no fan of Kanye West, I think Leno should issue his own apology. Of course, I think he should go back to apologizing for ruining the Tonight Show too. :)

Junk Drawer Kathy said...

Never liked Leno. Moving him to a different time and set won't change anything for me. To steal JD's thing, "Thanks for watching (and reviewing) so I don't have to."

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

sornie - I agree. What ever happened to quitting while you were ahead?

jocelyn - I've watched OP Repo before and have always gotten a kick out of it. SO much drama in a field that normally isn't that dramatic. You think that's scripted by chance? ;-)

diesel - I wouldn't know, but I heard it's fabulous.

mom - Funny. I suppose you and dad haven't watched a whole lot of late night talk shows in the past. See what you were missing?

pg - If only I had watched football instead. Sigh.

unfinished rambler - LOL... good one.

kathy - I actually thought about that as a title for a second (I Watched Jay Leno So You Didn't Have To), but then changed my mind because unlike a certain talk show, I wanted to be original.

Sandy said...

Yeah, I can't believe I'm saying this, but I actually felt SORRY for West when Leno asked him that question. I thought about my own dad (who died 4 years ago) and I got choked up thinking up trying to answer a question like that.

It was totally messed up to do that at the VMAs, but it was even LOWER when Leno asked him that.

Anonymous said...

Sandy, that was what I said. I was so mad at Kanye after the VMAs but then I felt a little bit sorry for him as he choked back tears. Had he not looked remorseful BEFORE the question that may have been appropriate, but the guy said at least a dozen times he felt bad and THEN Leno asked him that question - low - just plain low!

bon bon said...

ugh, leno is a hack. he's sexist, inconsiderate and will take any opportunity to make himself look better then his guest, while putting his hand on their shoulder with a smug "just kidding you, pal" approach. he is the anti-carson.

now would you like to hear what i really think? ha!

Heather said...

I didn't watch it, but I saw a clip of this interview online this morning. Very low-blow.

Maureen said...

Don't like Leno.

Don't like West.

Love Taylor.

Love Tivo.

Get Tivo.... it'll save you from all that crap.

Janna said...

Leno used to be a "nice" guy.
Some idiot producer/agent must've told him he needed to toughen up his image, because shortly after he started hosting The Tonight Show, he started doing mean jokes.
Cruel, nasty, unkind jokes, poking fun at someone's appearance, jeering at celebrities who'd gained weight...
I gave up on him then.
That was way over a decade ago.
I have no room in my life for mean people, whether they're in my TV or sitting right next to me.

Having said that, I'm still not sure where I stand with this particular Leno/West incident. I didn't see it, so all I have is your description.

I was personally of the opinion that West did a truly rotten thing at the award show-- and also of the opinion that any ensuing "apologies" would probably not be very sincere. So I don't know, maybe Leno felt the point needed to be driven home in a way that would make West better understand the gravity of the situation? Maybe he thought this was the only thing that would "get through" to him?

I know, the death of a parent is not something to poke someone with during a moment of weakness.

Either way, it sounds like the show was extremely uncomfortable to watch. I'm glad my TV doesn't work anymore. :)

P.S. This might be the longest comment I have ever posted. :)

Unknown said...

You don't need to be so mortified for Kanye. He'd already brought up his mother and her potential opinion the day before. (Which makes it a little more 'curious' that Kanye seemed speechless when Leno asked him about something Kanye had already stated.)

I like Leno. I love the headlines. I think it's interesting that people thought the show would change. (They do need to bring back the desk).

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

sandy - That's what I thought... which is why I felt compelled to write this.

anon - I know, that's what bothered me. Leno did such a poor job that he made me feel sorry for West, even though West doesn't deserve any sympathy!

bon bon - Great observations. I couldn't agree more.

heather - Well then, now you don't have to.

maureen - I would, but I already pay too much for my TV service. Bleh.

janna - I love your comment. Well said. I also love your "mean people suck" philosophy!

perri - Interesting. I'm now hearing "conspiracies" that West orchestrated this whole thing with Leno as a publicity stunt. I don't believe it, but I also can't say it would surprise me.

Elizabeth said...

I miss Johnny.

United Studies said...

I have never been a fan of any late-night talk shows, so I didn't watch this. But I saw the clips online, and I don't think Leno should have brought up his mom. You just don't talk about people's dead moms, unless it is to pay tribute to them.

JD at I Do Things said...

Never been a big fan of Leno. Don't love him, don't hate him. But I read about the Kanye interview, and I thought that was pretty low, even considering Kanye's jackass behavior. Geez, he didn't actually kill anyone, JAY! Low blow. No class.

rick said...

Kanye West was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live last year. The guy is so tone deaf, they resorted to using one of those electronic pitch correcting machines, and he still couldn't sing in key. The guy is laughably untalented, a pure product of mass marketing. Taylor Swift is a musical genius. Jay should have punched him in the nuts.

Ed said...

Two words: The Discovery Channel.

OK, that was three but I'd be willing to bet any re-run of Man vs. Wild would be better than Leno.

Ed said...

Did you know my cousin was on the original short-list of five being considered to take over Johnny Carson's spot way back when? Be thankful he didn't get it though; he's vain and shallow too... but still, he's my cousin.

April said...

Honestly, I think the whole format died when Johnny Carson left.

Head to Comedy Central for The Daily Show and Colbert Report instead.

Janna said...

Just found a YouTube clip of the Kanye interview.

It's right here.

How awkward.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

elizabeth - I know... he really set the bar for talk shows. It's too bad people like Leno have lowered it so low.

jd - Presactly.

rick - Now THAT would have been entertaining.

ed - How ironic, I was just watching that show earlier before Leno came on. Bear totally cracks me up... WAY more than Leno!

ve - Oh you name-dropper you. Well... if you had dropped his actual name that is.

april - I watch them both every night. Well, most of Colbert. It gets pretty late by then.

janna - And how about the end of the interview. After making him feel like crap he busts out a "So, you ready to sing!" Like I said... idiot.

Ed said...

His name is Rick Reynolds...look it up; he's on wikipedia.