Did Kanye's Apology Save Himself or The Jay Leno Show's Ratings?
The Jay Leno Show sailed its maiden voyage last night, navigating the forecasted Obama jokes, bland pre-taped sketches and Leno's reliably affable personality. Surprisingly, it wasn't the threesome between Leno, a tuxedo-ed Jerry Seinfeld and Oprah (via video) that salvaged The Tonight Show's primetime resurrection (complete with homophobic Cheaters sketch!) from complete unwatchability but an intimate sit-down with Kanye West, a day after his wildly unpopular VMA stunt. To see see who fared better - the autopiloted host or the Taylor Swift assailant - follow us after the jump.
The popular sentiments in today's Leno reviews are that: 1) Leno is still as dull as ever, an impressive feat considering he had quite a few months to prepare any humorous bits for the long-awaited and much-advertised premiere. And 2) Leno was lucky to have booked Kanye West on his first show. As we guessed yesterday, Kanye sat down with Jay for a "totally unplanned" segment. In possibly Jay's most intimate interaction to date, he dove straight for the emotional jugular: "Let me ask you something, I was fortunate enough to meet your mom and talk with your mom...what do you think she would have said about this?"
The interaction unfolded like an awkward first therapy session - Jay's arms were crossed, Kanye stared at the floor, Jay grazed Kanye's knee in support. Finally the rap singer delivered one of the most incomprehensible apologies of all time:
"So many celebrities, they never take the time off. [...] I've never taken the time off to really -- you know, just music after music and tour after tour. I'm just ashamed that my hurt caused someone else's hurt. My dream of what awards shows are supposed to be, 'cause, and I don't try to justify it because I was just in the wrong. That's period. But I need to, after this, take some time off and just analyze how I'm going to make it through the rest of this life, how I'm going to improve."
What could have been a probing 20/20 style interview was instead cut off by Jay who, never one for making his guests uncomfortable, said "So, are you ready to perform?"
West's cold apology on last night's show was probably not enough to earn the forgiveness of Swift's tween fan base, but it was buzz-worthy enough to boost Leno's ratings. The episode was watched by 17.7 million viewers, a 50% larger audience than Leno's Tonight Show finale last May.
Now, will people keep watching?