Sunday, January 17, 2010

Quote of the Jay

"I said, ya know, there's really only one person who could've done this into his 60s and that was Johnny Carson, and I think it's fair to say I'm no Johnny Carson. So I called up my buddy Jerry Seinfeld and I said what do you think, and Jerry quit his show when it was the most popular and I'm proud to say this show has been number one, we will keep it number one, and then in '09 I'll say, 'Conan, take it over, it's yours." Cause, ya know, you can do these things until they carry you out on a stretcher or you can get out when you're still doing good... This is not tomorrow. It's five years from today and I want to say that I don't think there's a better choice, because, ya know, when I took this show over, boy, there was a lot of animosity between me and Dave and 'who's gonna get it?' and, quite frankly, a lot of good friendships were permanently damaged. And I don't want to see anybody ever have to go through that again, 'cause this show is like a dynasty: You hold it and then you hand it off to the next person, and I don't want to see all the fighting and 'who's better?' and nasty things back and forth in the press. So right now, here it is. Conan, it's yours. See ya in five years, buddy."

-- Jay Leno in 2004, announcing that he would be stepping down as the host of The Tonight Show in 2009 and handing the reins to Conan O'Brien


melanie said...

brilliant. and chez, since this all started i've been meaning to tell you how excellent your coverage of the fiasco has been. fabulous job, man. too bad nobody at nbc can see it like this.

Capt Aclow said...

That 2004 Leno sounds like a smart fellow.

Vermillion said...

I hope this little refresher crushed any more thoughts that Leno was so innocent in all this.

The Leno who said that, that was the Leno I thought we had. I may not have thought he was very funny, but he was trying. And he was at least a fairly decent guy. that Leno didn't want a repeat of the same crap that ruined a once-good friendship. That Leno understood that the institution was more important than the hosts; that it was "The Tonight Show" first and foremost, and the names were always supporting that.

That Leno got crushed by the massive ego of Leno 2009.

Fuck you, Leno.

Anonymous said...

While not at all defending Leno (I can't stand the man or his comedy), if I was presented with some type of change that will impact me 5 years from now, I might feel "yeah, sure, sure." Seems like a long time - it isn't. I reflect on milestones in my life and, as I get older, the time frames get longer and longer. When I think of something that happened 4 years ago, I think, "wow, I could have gotten a college degree in that time - which feels like it was yesterday." And yet if I were about to start college, the thought of graduating in 4 years seems so far off. I don't think Leno gave it much thought because it seemed far off, NBC thought Leno would be near retirement and not #1 and Conan couldn't wait for the day to arrive. At the end of day, NBC fucked up big time. This is payback time for screwing Letterman.

Chez said...

Yes, Anon, but none of that changes the fact that Leno agreed to this then basically backed out. NBC is the guiltiest party, but it's not the only guilty party here.

It's kind of stunning when you think that Leno's magnanimity was always saved for posterity because he'd once taken that tack on national television.

Narbe said...

It's 2 things about Leno that has pissed all of us off: he went back on something he agreed to and also showed that he showed that he actually cares more about himself being on tv rather than letting future talent progress.

Riles said...

On last night's show, Leno gave his "take" on the current situation, and gave an account similar to what he said in 2004. It was a little different, but one thing remained the same: that he was going to RETIRE when he handed the show over. Not from show biz, he said, but still, retire. And that's what he should have done.

The suits should have known that Leno can't do anything other than blandly host a show, and should have realized then that he would try to go to another network, but still. RETIRE Jay, like you said.

Also, Jay last night "didn't know" if he was going back to 11:35pm or if he was going to the Tonight Show. If TMZ is right, which they always seem to be, his contract is already done, and he is not being honest about what he knows.

God, Leno pisses me off.

Chez said...

Anything Jay Leno says beyond, "I'm going to step aside and let Conan take the show because it's the right, honorable and smart thing to do," is clouding the issue. He can make all the excuses he wants. He's a part of the problem until he agrees to take himself out of the equation because that's what he once said he'd do.