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» Tuesday, September 15, 2009Day-O, Jay-Oh!
James and I have always enjoyed Jay Leno, or at least many segments he made famous on The Tonight Show, "Headlines" being our favorite with "Jaywalking" as a close second. Jay as interviewer was always iffysometimes he tended to overpower his guests, or not lead them into talking, instead telling a story about himself. On the other hand, some interviews were priceless, including his "What the hell were you thinking?" line to Hugh Grant, and the animal appearances were always great for a laugh.
So when we heard about the new gambit, weeknights at ten, we shrugged. I don't think either of us had illusions that it was going to succeed as a nightly show. Maybe it would do well enough to be scaled down to one or two nights a week, but nightlynaw.
After last night's premiere...okay, one to none. Sorry to say I enjoyed Adam Hart-Davis and his Victorians and Tudors much more of what I watched today.
An opening show, especially a variety/interview type like this, needs to lead with a "boffo" opening. This was more like "blando." Jay came onstage to rather nondescript, dull theme musicat least Kevin and the band were backand the first joke in his monologue fell flatter than the proverbial pancake (when you have to explain the joke, it isn't working). I dunno, maybe Jay thought he had to tone down his late-night humor; the whole thing was rather weak. The Obama "interview" was cute, but went on too long, and the skit with Kevin "cheating" on him with a Leno look-alike was good for a titter, no more, maybe because I find the idea of the series The Cheaters, on which the skit was based, appalling.
Jerry Seinfeld's appearance was too shortwhile I disliked Seinfeld, Seinfeld himself is funnyand the car wash business with some singer named Dan serenading a cute girl much too long and was only minimally amusing.
Finally some tone-deaf rapper wandered onstage and mumbled his way through an inarticulate apology for something rude he did at some obscure awards show and then proved he was tone-deaf when his band performed (the girl singer in the band at least had a good voice; why not let her sing instead of chanting some monotone garbled lyrics?). For heaven's sake, man, if you're going to apologize, do it in a loud, strong voice with a ring of sincerity.
The show closed with "Headlines," and even those were lukewarm. There have been nights when James laughed ourselves silly over these things. After three months off the air, all you could come up with were funny Chinese restaurant names? And the segment seemed rushed...probably because of the rapper guy's apology.
A disappointing start. One only hopes Jay can reach into a bag of tricks for some of his funnier guestsDavid Duchovny comes to mind, as does Julie Scardina from the San Diego Zooand save this puppy, or else NBC's going to be creating more idiot reality serieswhat's next? The Littlest Loser about fat kids on a diet, or The Real Housewives of Sheboygan, Wisconsin or Dancing With the Deaf with host Marlee Matlin?real soon now.