Dear Jay Leno:

Somebody has to have the guts to say it, so I will:  It’s past time for you to step off.  Frankly, you’re making a bit of a fool of yourself.  I know you’re a comic and used to people laughing at you, but this time it’s not ha-ha funny. It’s just sad.

It’s Conan’s turn.  He’s waited very patiently. He’s done right by NBC. The torch was passed. And now you want it back, so the network is willing to ditch the best Tonight Show host since Johnny Carson just so you can get what you want. If you wield this much power at NBC, why not take the high road?

I’ve gotta be honest here, Jay. You’re really not that funny. True, your very early days were pretty good. Your stand-up routines on Late Night With David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Johnny were, well, ground-breaking. You used to be amusing. Now? Not so much.  I don’t know what happened and I really don’t care. All I know for sure is you pander to the lowest common denominator and go for the cheap laugh. It’s getting old, Jay. Way old.

Then, there’s Conan O’Brien. He would be the first to own up to his silliness, his low-brow style. But he’s got something you don’t: Class.

Have you even read Conan’s thoughtful (not to mention humorous) public statement?

The courteous, fair, kind, (insert positive adjective here) thing to do would be to bow out, let Conan have his day, his months and years on The Tonight Show, like you had. Do you remember when ABC was quietly courting David Letterman to do his show in place of Ted Koppel’s Nightline? And do you remember that Dave said no because he liked Ted Koppel too much and felt Nightline had merit?  Say what you want about Dave’s personal life, but that move was a slice of career genius and personal integrity, garnering respect all around.

Will you please do the same thing? Just say “No.”

Please go back to your acres of collectable cars, your piles of money, and leave the funny to someone else who actually has it.

While the media dissects and analyzes Conan O’Brien and his decision to not placate NBC, the real bad guy here is you.

Your time is up. Take it like a man. Work on other projects. But give Conan his due.


No Fan Of Yours


3 thoughts on “Dear Jay Leno:

  1. to be fair to Leno, i don’t think it was his choice to move time slots and to be cut— he was kind of forced into that position as a cost cutting move. the problem lies in the NBC chief of messing with something that shouldn’t have been messed with in the first place. i don’t think leno cares as much of whether he has a job or not as he has lots of cash in the bank but NBC wants to keep their stars being Conan AND Leno. i am not a fan of Leno by the way — but the ruckus is self made by the guys at the top. to put a talk show at 10pm against other scripted TV shows was a really stupid thing to begin with.

    i am kind of siding with Conan on this one — why should he give up his timeslot to accommodate the mistakes and problems of the executives. Plus, i agree with him… it won’t be a “tonight show” if it was aired the next day. And how in the world are they going to do a 30 minute Leno show? you can’t do much in 30 minutes.

    • I appreciate your comment, Mel.. and I see your point. Executives ultimately make the decision. But I still contend that Leno, with his considerable influence at the network, could take the high road and simply refuse to take the 11:35 time slot. Doesn’t sound as though he’s turning it down, though.

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