January 14th, 2010
09:52 AM ET

Transcript: Jay Leno’s monologue 1/13/2010

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Jay Leno opened his monologue on “The Jay Leno Show” still making cracks about his own network. (Conan O'Brien got in plenty of digs, too.) Check the transcript:

“Good news from Afghanistan - critics of the war have stopped referring to it as “another Vietnam.”  They are not calling it that anymore.  The bad news – they’re now calling it “another NBC.”

Welcome to NBC.  America’s most dysfunctional TV family. Thank you very much.

You thought the Gosselins were screwed up. Oh my God.

Nobody knows what is going on. Conan O’Brien, understandable, is very upset. He had a statement in the paper yesterday. Conan said NBC only gave him seven months to make his show work. When I heard that…seven months! How did he get that deal? We only got four! Who’s his agent? Get me that guy. I’ll take seven.

All the late night hosts are having great fun with this debacle. Last night Jimmy Kimmel did his show dressed up as me. Show that clip. I was going to come out dressed as Jimmy Kimmel…Put Jimmy’s picture up there. But I realized I do not have enough black shoe polish here at NBC to get my hair that dark.

soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. Rose City Mike

    Does anyone know the name of the stand-up comic at the end of Jay's show on 1-13-2010.....though reserached, I can't find a name. I thought he was fantastic!!! Thanks.

    January 16, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Darrell B.

    One more thought: It's not fair to flat out say Conan isn't funny. He's just not as funny. I can honestly say, I've watched both their shows most nights, since Conan took over. What I've realized is that it's all in the delivery! In wondering why Leno keeps me rolling off the bed and Conan leaves me staring blankly at the screen, I close my eyes and imagine Leno saying exactly what Conan just said, and I begin to laugh. The fact that Leno was and delivers like a stand-up comic makes his monologue so funny. A writer, and decent one at that, Conan can't deliver the same joke (and he does many of the same jokes) as affectively.

    January 15, 2010 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  3. ems

    NBC screwed up when they first promised Conan that he could host the tonight show because they were afraid of losing him to another network if they didn't. The decision was made based on fear and that is rarely a good way to make any decision, especially a business decision. They pushed Jay out of the tonight show with a promise of future opportunities and then pulled the plug on the (admittedly weak) new show. I don't blame anyone for being upset, but Conan is not exactly who the majority of people vwant to see after watching the news. He was funnier at the later time slot where he could be edgier and appeal to his core audience rather than trying to sppeal to people who just aren't his fan base and probably never will be.
    Putting Jay on for 30 minutes followed by Conan is probably the best solution and might help Conans dismal ratings. It's not perfect, but it would likely be pretty succesful if the egos involved would just try it.

    January 15, 2010 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  4. Darrell B.

    Why on earth would Leno want to "call it quits and retire?" To stop Conan and Jimmy Kimmel from crying? What evidence supports that Leno is doing anything spiteful or unjust to Conan. Leno has a contract w/ NBC and likely has reasons to take the gig back that you whiners don't even know about. The network did this to Conan, not Leno. NBC made the 1st mistake by giving the show to Conan to begin w/. I told my wife it would come to this as soon as I found out Conan would be taking over. The reality is that Conan would still have the Tonight Show had he proved himself to be as funny as Leno. He didn't. The decline in Tonight Show ratings, since Conan, proves it. Conan is all about "Conan." He only talks about himself. Leno's about "the people," and will likely be glad to retire when he can sleep at night knowing his successor can make America laugh as much as he and Johnny did.

    January 15, 2010 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  5. 1209

    "(Rosie) O'Donnell, talking to reporters while promoting an HBO documentary, said she was a huge fan of O'Brien.

    "If you're privileged enough to drive the bus, you should say, 'Thank you' and drive it to the best of your ability, and when it's time for them to hire a new driver, you should say 'Thank you for allowing me to drive this as long as I did' and pass the keys to the new guy with red hair, and not try to flatten his tires before he even gets going," she said.

    O'Donnell was even more blunt on her blog, saying Leno had bullied his way back into college so he could be the quarterback again.

    She also revealed on the blog that when Leno started on the "Tonight" show in the early 1990s, NBC executive Brandon Tartikoff offered her the chance to sub for Leno on Friday nights as Joan Rivers did for Johnny Carson. O'Donnell said Leno nixed the idea.""

    So, reading the last paragraph tells me Rosie's comments in the earlier paragraphs come from a serious case of sour grapes. She didn't get to fill in for Leno so she won't support him. And, by the way, Leno didn't flatten Conan's tires – he did that all by himself !!! He's had 7 months to draw viewers, and it's just not happening, because he STINKS !!!

    January 15, 2010 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  6. Generation BB

    i think it's more and age and time thing. Conan has younger humor and relates well to the internet age gen xy and entitled. Executive saw that and then forgot that everybody was on the internet not watching TV.

    January 15, 2010 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  7. 1209

    Jay did not cause this mess. Conan did. And now that Conan is bombing, he wants to blame everyone else. Claiming he doesn't have the "lead-in" is his excuse. You know, back when people had to get out of their chairs and walk over to the TVa to change the TV station, that might have been the truth. But with remotes, no one gets off their seats, and can (and do !!) change their channels with a little click. And just for the record, the "lead-in" for Conan would be the news, not Jay's show.
    Bring Jay back to the Tonight Show. Conan is not now, nor has he ever been, nearly as funny as Jay, and now he is proving he has no class as well.
    Go Jay !!!!

    January 15, 2010 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jill

    Conan said it best "Kids you can anything you want in life. Unless Jay Leno wants to do it too."

    January 15, 2010 at 6:17 am | Report abuse |
  9. Bee

    Letterman is the King of Late Night. Everybody knows that Johnny Carson wanted David Letterman to take over his spot on the Tonight Show – I don't care what NBC does. I have been watching CBS because of David Freakin' Letterman.

    January 15, 2010 at 5:45 am | Report abuse |
  10. Howie

    Let's ask Simon Cowell to produce a show called 'Tonight Shows Got Talent' and then Leno, Conan, Kimmel, Fallon and Letterman can all get up, give it their best shot and let America phone in and decide!

    January 15, 2010 at 4:26 am | Report abuse |
  11. Ezra G

    I agree with NBC to restore Leno to 10:35(CT) Conan O"Brien is funny but he lacks charisma. I look forward to watching NBC again at 10:35.

    January 15, 2010 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jackie D

    Face the facts. Some people like Conan. And the rest of the people don't have a sense of humor....

    January 14, 2010 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Neal

    I find it funny. Conan made one jab at Leno, and everyone is up in arms about. If everyone like's Leno so much, why don't u watch the new show? Its the same thing as the old one (only with CHAIRS!) and not the variety like show that was originally thought of. Way to support his show Leno fans!!!!

    Leno is quoted in "Rolling Stone" for saying that at the time of the contract, NBC was negotiated with Conan, to keep him from going to ABC and that he "didn't want to go through the same situation they went through with Letterman. You know, taking over these shows is like czarist Russia. There's too much bloodshed and anger."

    So Leno was basically fine with the senario and it was NBC was the one that wanted him to stay and do another show. His intention was to
    try and do something different from what The Tonight Show is. Whatever you want to pay me is fine."

    So it comes to one basic fact, NBC was the one that made the deals w/both of them. The only person that people needs to be mad at or have any problem w/is NBC. Simple as that. Its not because Leno doesn't want to ride off into the sunset or because Conan was "being bitchy because he wanted The Tonight Show."

    NBC is the one to blame for all of this. They were being greedy. They didn't want to lose they're up-and-comer, nor did they want to lose there there bread and butter veteran.

    My personal opinion is let one of the go. Let one of them go to another network. It would bring more competition and that would in turn make all the late night host step up there game and try to be funnier than the other.

    January 14, 2010 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jessica*

    Conan is definately funnier than Jay. Jay should retire. Even FUNNIER than Conan and Jay both is CRAIG FERGUSON! They should give HIM the Late Show! haha

    Go Craigy!!!

    January 14, 2010 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tim

    Drop them both and hire Craig Ferguson. He is more funny than both put together.

    January 14, 2010 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  16. BLC

    I like both hosts, but think Leno and NBC should back off. When they took the risk with Leno's new show, they should have thought about what they would do if it didn't work. It's like they assumed it would and had no back up plan.. and now they want a 'do over'.

    Not fair to Conan and disrepectful to Tonight Show legacy to pull the rug out from under O'brien...Jay should bow out gracefully and NBC should be a 'grown up' and support Conan in the original decision.

    January 14, 2010 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Patty

    A contract is a contract. A gamble is a gamble. NBC started all of this with Conan's contract to take Jay's slot. It was a gamble that Jay's ratings would drop. Jay gambled that his new show would work doing the SAME OLD show format instead of making it new and fresh to compete in Prime Tme. Jay failed. It's not fair to bump Conan out of the Tonight Show slot. They both are funny in their own way to different audiences. I hope NBC gets their act together!

    January 14, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Jere

    Leno isn't the problem. He got screwed over years ago when Conan bitched about wanting The Tonight Show and NBC didn't want to lose him. Leno gracefully accepted the terms. For the Conan's debut, he had horrible guests. For Jay's "The Leno Show" he had actual A-Listers, which is why people tuned into his show more then The Tonight Show at first. But then NBC got the fact that The Tonight Show should have the better guests and Leno's show went straight down the tubes.
    Notice how Leno pretty much doesn't insult Conan at all, but Conan goes straight after Leno like it's all his fault? It's just like the whole Letterman debacle. Letterman wanted The Tonight Show, he assumed after so many years of hosting The Late Show he'd get it, but NBC liked him on The Late Show and Dave had his own following, "why ruin a good thing?" So they screwed up.
    This time, they thought they were doing the right thing by promoting Conan. Instead, they not only pissed off Conan by not making him the #1 late night talk show... they screwed over Leno by turning his show into the cheap low-brow crap that he was doing on The Tonight Show once in a while... not every night!
    Bottom line... this is all NBC's fault. NOT Leno's.

    January 14, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Paul

    Babs- You're wrong. You ever listen to Jay's audience? They laugh at every lame, under-developed joke he spews out night after night. You can't even call them jokes. They're just stupid corny things you'd expect to hear your annoying uncle say at a family reunion. BOIRING.

    I think Conan has some very mature fans who appreciate WELL-WRITTEN, WELL-DELIVERED comedy.

    Jay doesn't even try. And no, it's not because he doesn't have to. If he tried, maybe he'd actually be good.

    January 14, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Babs

    Conan's audience is younger and will laugh at most anything he says or does.
    Jay's audience is more mature and appreciates the deftness and timing.

    Conan is like Jim Carry who looks and acts the same in all of his movies. Not funny.

    January 14, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  21. jack

    Jay bombed at 10, but NBC execs don't care!!

    Conan is a bust at 11:35, but NBC execs want to keep him!

    I watched one night of Conan – never again.
    Jay's 10 o'clock show was a tired re-run of the old Tonight – yawn.

    How about firing people when they fail.

    January 14, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Kelsey

    The only thing funny about Jay is his chin. Conan deserves that slot.

    January 14, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Tom R

    I've got it!...Jay- move to Fox at 10:30 to 11:30 so they can cut their 1 hour 10-11pm newscast (way too long) to 30 minutes (10 – 10:30pm)...they lose half of us anyway. This way, Fox keeps the audience through the other networks' 11pm local news broadcasts, and we still get an alternative to boring dramas in late primetime.

    January 14, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  24. wayne

    People, people, come on...take the emotion out of this please. This has nothing to do with who's nice and who's spiteful. This has EVERYTHING to do with the big R word; Ratings. Fact; when Jay Leno hosted The Tonight Show, NBC got two milloin more viewers than rival David Letterman. Then Conan took over and they're two milloin viewers behind David Letterman. In the world of television, he who gets the most viewers/ratings wins. If anyone should be mad in this mess, it should be Jay Leno, who's show was TAKEN from him at the height of great ratings just so Conan wouldn't just ship and go to another network; which now it looks like he's still going to do.

    January 14, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  25. pm

    NBC didnt renew Jays contract so they could move Conan into the tonight show because they didnt want to loose Conan. Jay didnt retire to make room for Conan and hes not pushing Conan out now. Conan sucked up the ratings and NBC has decided to put Jay back in to regain the tonight shows ratings and regain the number 1 slot that Conan couldnt keep up. Talk show jabs are not written by the hosts so dont put so much value on them.

    January 14, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Paul

    There are a lot of folks here and on the thread under Conan's monologue who seem to be under the impression that Jay Leno is some kind of megalomaniac who's causing this confusion by saying "ONLY I SHOULD BE ON AT 11:30! BOW DOWN BEFORE ME!"

    The fact is that NBC thought Jay would be ready to retire (or be facing dwindling ratings) by 2009 and wanted to avoid another debacle like they had with Letterman in 1993. Rather than risk having Conan go elsewhere and have no heir-apparent to Leno, they decided to set up the transition five years out. Conan gets the Tonight Show, Leno can do whatever, everybody's happy.
    Five years later, Leno's ratings are fine, but NBC has a contract with Conan that says, basically, Conan gets the Tonight show or NBC has to buy out his contract for something like $40 million. That's a hell of a kill fee.
    Not wanting to risk having Leno doing a show on Fox or ABC, and losing the 10PM time slot all week long, the execs cook up "The Jay Leno Show." Jay's fine with that. And everything's fine until the affiliates complain that the new 10PM Leno show is killing their late newscasts. NBC now has to deal with Leno, O'Brien AND their affiliates. Conan has a contract. Leno has a contract. And you KNOW they could both go elsewhere and do other things, probably at 11:30 on weeknights–which is exactly what NBC would like to avoid.

    January 14, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Alexandra

    If people liked Jay they would have watched his show no matter what time it was on. Enough is enough. You had your moment, you "retired", it's time to start writing some books and move on. Personally, I think David Letterman is truly benefitting. His jokes on this have been amazing. Screw NBC. CBS is where I'm going.

    January 14, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  28. kaan

    jay is a classy stand up late night show trade mark. conan is not his substitute. he beat dave and conan. ditch conan.. jay is a keeper!!

    January 14, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  29. st. louis

    Umm, Jay did not "retire" from the Tonight Show – he was booted out because of Conan's contract that said he got the TS after 5 years on NBC. It was taken from Jay. Jay was tops in his time slot for years and NBC didn't want to loose him, and still doesn't.

    January 14, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  30. pattyphoenix

    Get off Jay's butt. He is the funnier one – Conan is too edgy for an earlier audience. Go back to late night.

    January 14, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Ericka

    Conan didn't DEMAND the job on the Tonight Show. NBC offered the show to him to keep him on the network in 2004. This whole thing is a mess, and it's NBC's fault. I don't think Leno and Conan should be taking shots at each other since it's their bosses fault they're in this mess in the first place. NBC is a black hole for stupidity in decision making, and now we're REALLY seeing just how stupid they are.

    P.S. - Bring back "The Cosby Show." Hell, for all this, bring back "A Different World."

    January 14, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Tonight Show fanatic for 35 years

    I miss Johnny Carson. This really was his show, espcially after NBC figured out that Jack Paar just wasn't that funny at night. Johnny was on for something like 30 years and the build up for Jay was amazing...all with Johnny's blessing. Johnny would have rolled over in his grave to see an amateur of likes of Conan O'B. put in that slot. This thing was six (6) years in the making, but not because Leno wanted it. If anyone remembers thier tonight show history, it was because Jay was appealing to an audience that was too old. NBC wanted Conan for the younger crowd. Well, it didn't work. Ratings are down. Advertisers aren't getting as big a bang for their buck as they did with Leno and they want a mature (translation: finacially secure) audience to buy their products.

    Now – the other matter - this is all about Poker After Dark and its lead-in. Leno is a favorite amongst old, wealthy poker players!!!!!

    January 14, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  33. R Varno

    I vote for the team show as well.

    Here's something maybe no one has thought of...

    This whole thing is giving them a heck of a ratings boost and a LOT of free publicity.


    January 14, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Keith

    This transcript is a PERFECT example of why Jay Leno is not funny any more. Those "jokes" were terribly and, even in text format, I could feel his smug self-satisfaction behind them.

    January 14, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  35. rsgdbg

    It's over, Jay. Please pick up your marbles and get out of the game. You can't go home again...we've all moved on. The only thing that could be worse for you than failing in the 10 p.m. slot is going back and failing in the 11:35 p.m. slot. Ouch. Save us all the pain.

    January 14, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Chris

    Debra R – Conan has had his digs in to Jay as well. Last night's comment about being able to do anything you want as long as Jay Leno doesn't want to do it too – was a pretty direct hit.

    Everyone needs to keep in mind that Leno didn't hand over the Tonight Show. NBC had to promise a specific take over date to Conan or he would not have signed his contract with them 5 years ago. Leno was more or less forced to announce his "retirement". As the time came closer, NBC had to give him a spot or Leno may have ended up on another network competing against Conan. Now neither show is doing as well as expected – this is NBC's problem, not created by either Jay or Conan.

    January 14, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Amy

    Give the Tonight Show back to Jay, where it belongs!

    January 14, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Alice

    I love Jay Leno but don't care that much for Conan. Nonetheless, Jay should get out of the way (I'm disappointed in him). He should be distancing himself and make a statement that he will not get in Conan's way. Jay made an agreement and it is Conan's turn. A deal is a deal.

    I hope Jay can find another way to be on TV. I love his brand of comedy.

    January 14, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Tom O'Medway

    Fascinating – the The Marquee Blog following Conan's 1/13/10 monologue, foudn elsewhere in this website, is 99% pro Conan and Anti-Jay. And so is the one above! Where are the Jay supporters? Not that I expected to find any given Conan's genius and class vs. Jay's has-been selfishness.

    January 14, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Heather

    Hit the road Jay!

    January 14, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Daryll

    If you're nice, Jay, maybe you can guest-host whenever Conan goes on vacation. But it's his show, he earned it, and you had your time. Decisions have consequences. Nobody in Vegas would give you your money back when the thing you gambled on didn't win. Find something else to do, or just retire; if you invested your money at all, you're set for life, so get out of the way and accept the consequences of your actions.

    January 14, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Ariel

    I don't get why everyone is being mean about Leno. He seems like the nicest most genuine guy in Hollywood. Conan demanded his job, and he didn't have a fit and go to another network, he just sat back and let NBC do whatever they were going to do, and now he's doing the same thing. Conan's being pretty vicious about Jay Leno, but he's the ass who initiated the shake up and demanded his job.

    January 14, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  43. brad

    More Conan, No Leno. Jay, please do the us, the viewers, the ones whose opinions truly, a favor and go away. You're not Brett Favre. In case you didn't notice, something like 80% of people don't want you to screw things up anymore with the Tonight Show. It is Conan's show now, you retired and gave it to him. Bow out while you still have some integrity left.

    January 14, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  44. VZX

    Conan is a genius. The dude graduated magna cum laude from Harvard. How many talk show hosts can claim that?

    He is the most witty and funniest person I have ever seen.

    January 14, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  45. JC

    How about a TEAM Tonight Show where they co-host it. Why the hell not, I would love to see the two of them share spiteful jokes 🙂

    January 14, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Raymond Holt

    Jay, you had to your run with the Tonight Show. Conan deserves his shot. You had your experiment and it did not work. Your failure does not mean you can ruin the Tonight Show or Conan's career. Go back to standup. Hit vegas a few times. You got plenty of money.

    January 14, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Alison

    Jimmy and Conan have more funny in their little finger that Jay does in his whole body

    January 14, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  48. raven

    Give me a break. Jay has been number one as the tonight show host for years. Conan is just not funny. Get over it!

    January 14, 2010 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  49. Debra R

    Not funny Jay...you are only reinforcing your image as spiteful. Conan is going out of his way not to dis you.

    January 14, 2010 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |

    Dear Mister Leno, please go away. Even Johnny Carson knew when it was time to call it quits and retire. To bump Conan is to kick him in the **lls. He earned the right to be the host of The Tonight Show, just as you did, but give the man a break and America~!

    January 14, 2010 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  51. Mark

    Jay is selfish. Conan did not become a sucess overnight, nor did jay til the grant interview in the 90's. Conan is getting the shaft from NBC. It's a shame.

    January 14, 2010 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |

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