We always knew Jay Leno wasn't funny. But who knew he was such a whining, lying manipulator?
Days after Conan O'Brien officially left NBC, and Leno reclaimed The Tonight Show hosting gig, Jay appeared with Oprah Winfrey to try and rehabilitate his image. It's safe to say he failed... miserably.
In a series of responses, - each more damaging than the previous one - Leno said he hasn't spoken to O'Brien; admits to lying to viewers a few years ago; and acts as though he's somehow the victim in this late-night mess. A few excerpts:
On being replaced by O'Brien: "It broke my heart, it really did. I was devastated."
On telling viewers in 2004 than he was going to retire: "I told a little white lie on the air. It made it easier that way."
On the new program's failure: "The show failed because it was basically doing a late-night talk show at 10 o'clock. I was given enough time. I got fired this time because my show did not perform." (THG note: you did not get fired, Jay. You got promoted! Conan got fired.)
On accepting a 10 p.m. time slot to save jobs at his show: "You say to the 170 people who work here, ‘Listen, I don’t want to get my reputation ruined, I don’t want anyone talking bad about me. I’ve got enough money. You people can all fend for yourself." (What about the hundreds of jobs that were lost at the 10 p.m. scripted shows NBC canceled to set you up, Jay?)
On Jimmy Kimmel's skewering of him: "I got sucker-punched... I walked into it. [But] you don't whine and complain." (Until now, apparently.)
On Conan's cancellation: "It all comes down to numbers in show business. If the numbers had been there, this wouldn't have happened." (No way your terrible showing as a lead-in played a role, right Jay?)
Leno concluded the interview by saying he hopes Conan gets a new job as a competitor and "the best man wins."
Sorry, Jay, but future ratings (as a result of viewers that appreciate a lack of wit and creativity) does not make one a good man. Showing class and an ounce of humility would have done the job, but it's too late for that.