Jay Leno's State of the Union Address: The Video

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As reported here Monday evening, Jay Leno finally took to the air to address the battle royale that has torn NBC to shreds over the last week. Though a close look at his comments about the Conan O'Brien debacle (which appear to be delivered off-the-cuff while cutting into Leno's almost-as-amusing "Headlines" segment) is essential reading for any student of late-night history, there is a riveting quality to the Leno's hand-waving, conversational style that really must be seen to be believed. When he says, "This is all business" -- the buck-passing, blame-mongering, the severe bruising and network cash hemorrhaging -- it's kind of haunting to sense that not only does he mean it, he's all right with it. It's just another day at NBC. And you know what? He'll be back to No. 1 before you know it. Click through to see the master at work.



Comments

  • boo to nbc, yay to jay & conan says:

    it's business, it's work.
    i don't see anything wrong with jay accepting a good offer.
    i love conan as much but if someone gets a better offer than you,
    don't pull them down; find a way to pull yourself up.
    ultimately, the fans will follow you wherever you go.
    i will continue watching jay and conan.
    much respect for letterman but he's just way too old.

  • Lane Zane says:

    Jay Leno should retire --he isn't funny anymore. I hope there is a backlash against Leno. I used to watch him but I will be boycotting NBC, the nothing but crap network. Coco rules!

  • Carlo says:

    What a load. This guy is sly like a fox with his little "aw shucks" attitude. Here's a thought, Jay. You've worth close to a billion dollars - I'm thinking you and your family probably couldn't spend all of it if you tried. What say you retire and do what you love to do - travel and do stand-up. When your non-compete clause is up at NBC, talk to Fox or whomever.
    But step down after all these years and let Conan have a shot. But that would be just too damned magnanimous of you, wouldn't it. Oh, I see - you want MORE money. I know, classic cars are expensive, but I think you'll bee fine booking rooms all over the country - enough at least to keep your Ferraris running. You've sucked in standup in front of a camera for years. Go back to the clubs where you like it and you actually once in awhile can be funny.
    You what it comes down to? Not business, or "gee whiz - I'm just an employee doing what my boss tells me to do" - it comes down to selfish greed.

  • al says:

    Jay told it just like it happened. Jay was No. 1 for years and NBC forced him out in favor of Conan who they thought would keep the ratings lead, BUT that didn't happen. Conan sank like a rock against Letterman and NBC say their mistake and wanted Jay to do a 30 min leadin to help Conan move up in ratings, but the dunb Conan got his little feelings hurt and pouted....and now he's out and Jay can be restored to the show he deserves. Tough Sh*t Conan....cry baby...go to FOX or Disney...you'll fit there.

  • Audrey says:

    I was so amazed at the ugly remarks levied against Jay. Look people, this is NBC's problem and business decision. Some of you suggested that Jay should just walk away. Why should Jay be the "bigger" guy and walk away? Conan was NOT fired, they offered him an alternative but his PRIDE got in the way. Was he thinking about his STAFF when he said NO to the 12:05 slot? Which I might add, was a generous offer under the circumstances. What's more, in this business it is customary that if you are not performing (bringing in the ratings), the boss has a right to fire you! The manner is which it is done is a different story, but that's the system we live by.
    To ask Jay to put on a SAINT suite and step aside is not only crazy, but it's unreasonable.
    Lets all get real..NBC made a very POOR business decision in 2004. Unfortunately, this has impacted two good people. Blaming Jay is not the answer.

  • wilywench says:

    Conan is tanking because he's un-funny and weird. Yay team Jay!

  • phyllis says:

    I was ticked off when they forced Jay to accept a retirement deal when he didn't want to leave.
    I was turned off by Conan years ago, and found him low-brow and unfunny. I never thought he'd be a good replacement or even worthy of the Tonight Show.
    What happened here is that NBC had forced Leno to leave, signed a contract with Conan and later regretted it. But not being able to get out of it, they positioned Jay at 10:30, knowing they were creating a scenario in which when Conan failed, they could put Jay back into the Tonight Show.
    I do not believe Jay had any part in it. His narrative is completely believable, and the only reason he can get away with telling the public is because he knows NBC wants him so badly.
    This has been completely unfair to Conan, but he's been forced to be more diplomatic, because his future is uncertain.
    But the fault does not lie with either party.
    It lies with NBC.

  • Redmond Farley says:

    I'm sorry seven months and then your done? Conan has done so much for NBC and this is nothing more than an embarrassment. Shortest run in the Tonight Show history. Conan should have gotten a chance to settle in. Jay Leno is not some great honest guy, he to is a business man. Jay has done a lot for NBC, but why not go out on top? There is a lack of class here that can't be ignored. If you want to see class watch Conan's last words on the Tonight Show. We will never see Jay speak with that level of honesty or conviction.

  • Redmond Farley says:

    What nobody seems to get is that it was a classless move by jay to even take part in it, which he did. He snaked his way into the job behind Letterman's back years ago and this move is just as classless. Conan didn't take the later time slot because he didn't want to screw Jimmy Falon, and because the Tonight Show has never aired that late. Jay should have said I'm not interested and taken his dog and pony show to another network. This looks pathetic. Carson would have never let NBC give him the boot and then take that very same spot back seven months later nor would Letterman or Conan for that matter. It is a matter of principles. It is also unfair to say that Conan was tanking. Leno suffered a very similar drop off after Carson's departure. Conan is every bit as talented as Jay and he is also a much better writer. Leno's act is not that funny and riddled with skits he stole from Letterman and Howard Stern. In the end Conan showed class and dignity, two things Jay Leno will never be known for.

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