Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Conan O’Brien hosted to The Tonight Show for a total of 7 months and was replaced by his predecessor, Jay Leno. Regardless of whose side you’re on, Conan’s last two weeks at NBC made for some great television. Not just on NBC, but on CBS as well. David Letterman took delight in tearing into Leno because he had found himself in a similar situation 18 years prior. In this clip, Dave warns that you can think whatever you want about NBC’s late night drama, but “don’t blame Conan.”
Last night, after much anticipation, Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom finally debuted on HBO. I really wanted to like this show because, even though I know he can be preachy, I like Aaron Sorkin and his previous two shows about the behind-the-scenes of television. Both Sports Night and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip were their own shows, The Newsroom appears to be a rehash of Studio 60 with the only difference being the former takes place in a newsroom and the latter is about a late night sketch comedy show a la Saturday Night Live.
If I had never seen Studio 60, I would probably love The Newsroom. Instead, I spent all hour and fifteen minutes of the first episode wishing people would stop comparing everyone they find bland to Jay Leno, thinking Sam Waterston needs a hair cut and makes an awkward drunk, and searching for anachronisms and incorrect facts. Seriously, I was trying to determine if the cell phones used in the show were actually available in 2010 because the show lost my interest within the first 15 minutes.
In 2009, The Jay Leno Show used an amateur comedy video that it had found on YouTube without permission. Despite the fact that Leno did not ask permission, Brian Kamerer and Travis Irvine were initially happy that he had used the video on his show. All that changed when NBC decided to take the duos video down because of copyright infringement. Yes, you read that correctly. NBC, which could be accused of copyright infringement for not paying or asking to use a video, took down the original posting of a video it essentially stole from Kamerer and Irvine due to copyright infringement.
I am not saying Jay Leno should not have used the video. In fact, anything that gives more exposure to up-and-coming comedians is a good thing, especially since late night talk shows rarely feature stand up comedians nowadays. However, NBC had no right to use the video without asking permission or compensating Kamerer and Irvine and definitely went to far with taking the video down.
Once again, Jay Leno declares that he lives solely off the money he makes from stand up comedy. This time he made the claim in The Seattle Times, even though the story can be found online at the Boston Herald’s website. At least, Leno didn’t repeat that he has never touched his Tonight Show money.
Despite being a David Letterman and Conan O’Brien fan, I don’t completely hate Jay Leno because I don’t know him personally. However, when Leno makes comments about how he lives off of the money he earns from doing stand up comedy, I want to scream.
We get it Jay. You’re rich. I’m sure comedy clubs are paying you more than the struggling comics barely making a living. You’re the host of the freakin’ Tonight Show. It sounds impressive when someone says “Jay Leno performed here last week” because millions of Americans watch you every night. You probably make several thousand of dollars per stand up gig because of it. No one thinks you’re struggling to get by on your stand up money. Besides, you have an obscene number of cars, so shut up.
Another thing Leno needs to stop saying is “I’ve always looked at TV as a temporary job.” It is for some people. As Team Coco can attest, he’s not one of them. He managed to lose The Tonight Show, bomb in primetime, and then get The Tonight Show back. He makes 32 million dollars a year from television and apparently doesn’t spend any of it or spends it all on cars. I don’t know which one. Either way, if he loses The Tonight Show tomorrow, it’s not like he’s going to be standing on the welfare line because his stand up alone makes him wealthier than most people.
Lately, NBC has been advertising Jay Leno celebrating 20 years at NBC, which is not entirely accurate. He has been with NBC for more than 20 years, the first few were spent as permanent guest host of The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson. NBC should be saying Leno has been hosting The Tonight Show for 20 years. Wait, that’s not right either, even though NBC wants to be able to insist otherwise. In reality, Leno has been regularly hosting a nightly talk show for 20 years: 19 years as host of The Tonight Show, 5 months as host of The Jay Leno Show.
Let’s be honest. It is impressive that Leno has been on the air for 20 years, but there is a huge segment of the population that holds a grudge against him. They are the ones who will always remember that Conan O’Brien hosted The Tonight Show for 7 months, which NBC would rather forget. They are the very reason Team Coco exists and Conan is now happy on TBS.