Jay Leno Wouldn't Mind Returning to 11:35. He's Just Putting It Out There!


Jay Leno gave a deliciously passive-aggressive interview to Broadcasting & Cable today, and though the host purports not to be stung by criticism of his new show, he can still rattle off the most cutting comments from memory ("My favorite one is, someone on a blog said they hope I die of AIDS in one of my old cars"). Still, the most interesting portion of the interview is when Leno basically says that if someone would like to give him his 11:35 time slot back...well, it's not like he's going to ask for it, but if someone were to give it to him, he would be totally OK with that. Actually, more than OK. Actually, could someone offer it to him right now?

If someone [from new ownership] comes in tomorrow and puts you back at 11:35, are you thrilled?

Oh, I don't know. Are you married? Whatever you want, honey.

You know I don't believe a word you are saying, right?

I'm not having a bad time at 10 o'clock now. I look at this as a job, and now I'm faced with a challenge, and it's a challenge I find difficult but interesting. I find that when I go to Vegas, whereas before I might not sell out, all of a sudden it's sold out. I seem to be doing better in terms of public appearances. I am reaching a wider audience. Whether that translates to television just yet, I don't know. But I see a difference. Now why is that, because I'm in the paper every day? I don't know. Because I'm on earlier? I'm actually doing well; this is almost the best year for personal appearances since I started. So there is no negativity there.

Do you want to go back to 11:35?

If it were offered to me, would I take it? If that's what they wanted to do, sure. That would be fine if they wanted to.

Would you rather do that than this?

I don't know....Would I take it? I guess. But it's not my decision to make; it's really not.

But seriously, if someone were to, say, put that time slot on a table when no one was around, and Leno just happened to come by and he picked it up, that would be OK, right? No harm, no foul?

Jay Leno Talks Back: An Exclusive Interview With B&C [Broadcasting & Cable]


  • sweetbiscuit says:

    "This is almost the best year for personal appearances since I started." So, see? People like me, okay? So, whatever, I guess.

  • Ben says:

    Weird article, Kyle. He was asked the question repeatedly and gave the same answer. That's not his fault. It's the interviewers.
    And are you saying YOU wouldn't remember it if someone said they wanted you to die of AIDS in one of your old cars? Because I would.
    Leno deserves to be given a break. I mean, sure, I don't find him funny. But I don't think Letterman is funny either. I think they're all doing the same tired routine as each other and I'm not sure why this guy gets singled out for all the scorn. It seems like it's kinda 'cool' to crap on about how much he sucks or something, and that bothers me. It's conspicuously group think.

  • Kyle Buchanan says:

    Fair enough. Although this post isn't at all about Leno's quality...I just found it interesting that he floated the option of going back to 11:30. And while it's true that the interviewer asked it numerous times, it's also true that he answered it that way numerous times, and he knew his responses would be analyzed. Is he attempting to put out a trial balloon?

  • sweetbiscuit says:

    He gets singled out because he is no longer Letterman's competition, he is NBC's highly touted "new" programming path. He is singled out because his salary is somewhere around $30 million a year, and you have to wonder if he's worth that in terms of entertainment value.

  • SunnydaZe says:

    Ben, since you see no difference between Leno and Letterman in terms of suckatude I am concerned you may suffer from comedy blindness. To help diagnose this please list a few things you DO find funny.

  • Ben says:

    Is that because you think Letterman is actually funny, or just funnier than Leno. There comes a certain point at which unfunny is just unfunny to me. I don't discriminate. Maybe if I were more discerning I would be better equipped to assess the extent of their suck on a sliding scale.
    Things I think are funny:
    It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
    The Room.
    Now you go.

  • OldTowneTavern says:

    Leno has been around the block enough times to know the proper answer is: "11:35 is off the table. That ship has sailed. I think Conan is great." The "who me? I'm just an innocent babe amongst these Big Bad Businessmen" card was played back when he got Johnny bounced.

  • SunnydaZe says:

    I think Letterman IS funny. By that I mean the personification of funny. He doesn't do an act, he just IS and that IS funny.
    Ghostbusters> Interesting. Letterman and Murray go way back. Murray was Letterman's first guest on the NBC show in 1982 and his first guest on the CBS show in 1993. Odd to like one and not the other.
    Letterman has consistently been funny night after night for almost three decades. Even Johnny had guest hosts so he could take a break now and then. In fact, one of those guest hosts went on to steal Johnny's and Dave's job. . .
    Did you ever think Letterman was funny? Or do you believe he has just lost it?
    (BTW, "assess" is a very funny word.)

  • Ben says:

    I think he's a good interviewer, but a terrible comic. When you get him away from his sycophantic audience (who he panders to while seemingly despising) you get his Oscar appearance.
    Is that partly the fault of his writers? Sure, but he's the one out there delivering that stuff. I also find his habits rather annoying. Repeating punch lines ten minutes later is not funny.

  • SunnydaZe says:

    Ohh! Oscar appearance! Low blow, Ben; Low blow. We can't all be Billy Crystal. . .
    (BTW, "sycophantic" is not a funny word.)

  • sweetbiscuit says:

    Yes. This.

  • JoeBlow says:


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