On Monday, Jay Leno returned to The Tonight Show desk, after displacing Conan O’Brien in a move that cemented his reputation as a late night weasel.
Leno re-took his spot as host of The Tonight Show after his spectacular failure in prime time. His failure was of such magnitude it cost NBC millions upon millions of dollars in revenue because of his low ratings. NBC affiliates were screaming at NBC executives to do something about Leno. In a move that only TV executives could make, they rewarded Leno for his failure, installing him back on The Tonight Show. This would be akin to me gambling away people’s retirement money then being rewarded for doing so with a truckload of money.
Sadly, middle America, with its bland sense of humour embraced Leno once again because they couldn’t get enough of his underwhelming monologues. They clambered for his crutch, the Jay-walking segments, where the apparent source of humour is asking questions to people who are ironically, just a few IQ points lower than the people watching. Leno’s ratings were good enough to beat David Letterman but we’ll see what happens once the weeks go on and things settle down. I’m afraid that middle America will continue to reward Leno for playing it safe night in and night out. They wouldn’t know real, genuine humour even if it hit them like a Ford Taurus SHO going at full speed.
I will always remain a fan of David Letterman and eagerly await Conan O’Brien’s return to television. On Monday, Dave gave me a reminder of why he’s still one of the best in my books, as evidenced in the video above.