Regular readers, and anyone who knows me at all, know that I’m a die-hard, dyed-in-the-wool David Letterman fan. I’ve always held a grudge against Jay Leno for getting the job that Dave wanted and deserved (even though some people feel that job might have ruined Dave had he gotten it). I’ve always considered Jay’s comedy derivative of, and inferior to, Dave’s, and have always been mystified by the fact that so many late night viewers seemed to prefer salisbury steak to a fine New York strip.
Even so, I’ve mellowed a little in my attitude towards Jay in recent months, and I was sort of looking forward to his new show tonight. It would be nice to have an option for late-night talk show humor at an earlier hour.
But the first episode of “The Jay Leno Show” left me profoundly unimpressed. Aaron “TV Barn” Barnhart of the Kansas City Star, who probably likes Jay better than I do, pointed out that Jay’s very first joke — something along the lines of “this isn’t a promo, this is the actual show” — was, in fact, David Letterman’s second joke when Dave moved to the Late Show in 1993 following a similar publicity blitz. “Jay is still stealing from him,” Aaron tweeted.
Early on, the show featured a big musical comedy (and I use that word loosely) bit from an individual who bills himself as “The Dan Band.” He apparently has quite a following, and on Twitter they were thrilled to see him on “The Jay Leno Show,” but for me the bit was just … dull. Lame.
Jerry Seinfeld was Jay’s first guest, and he and Jay began by wasting time with a pointless, unfunny setup to a pointless, unfunny video-tape cameo by Oprah.
The “headlines” segment, now at the end of the show in hopes of convincing people to Stay Tuned For Your Late Local News, was at least funny (as it always is).
Another Twitter poster remarked that if “The Jay Leno Show” is, indeed, “the future of television,” as proclaimed on the cover of Time, it may be time to sell your set.
UPDATE: After posting, I realized I hadn’t mentioned Kanye. Kanye was on the show, too. There, I mentioned Kanye.