Jay Leno jokes about 'Tonight Show' layoffs
August 21st, 2012
01:00 PM ET

Jay Leno jokes about 'Tonight Show' layoffs

Perhaps Jay Leno was hoping a few jokes would soften the blow of "The Tonight Show's" recent layoffs, as he opened his monologue on Monday with a few wisecracks about the pink slips that were handed out on Friday.

"Welcome to 'The Tonight Show' - or as Comcast calls us, 'The Expendables!'" he quipped. "As you may have heard, our parent company has downsized 'The Tonight Show.' We've consistently been No. 1 in the ratings, and if you know anything about our network, that kind of thing is frowned upon..."

Leno rolled right along, kidding that the layoffs weren't even the half of it.

"I have more bad news," he told the audience. "It turns out we've been taken over by Bain Capital. I knew something was going on. Friday morning I woke up and there was a peacock head in my bed. But the good news - it's still free to get into 'The Tonight Show.' The bad news is it's a hundred bucks to get out."

The audience chuckled, but Leno was likely feeling a little less light-hearted. A source told CNN on Saturday that between 20 and 25 employees of "The Tonight Show" were let go, and that Leno opted for "a substantial pay cut" in order to save his staff from further cuts.

According to the source, the layoffs were part of a budgeting plan to adjust the show's expenses to be more in line with typical late night programming as opposed to primetime fare.

soundoff (107 Responses)
  1. Connie

    This is my first time pay a quick visit at here and i am in fact pleassant to read all at
    single place.


    October 18, 2012 at 6:29 am | Report abuse |
  2. icon-design

    Logical question

    P.S. Please review our icons for Windows and windows12icons.

    September 12, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. BillyBob

    Vote Obama out of Office – Vote for someone who will suck us dry and leave us without a job, retirement or health care. All the while padding his own pockets. Mitt, what a guy

    September 8, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jeff Cline

    Jay, just done what alot of other rich people should do "Help your brother along the way" I think what he has done is wonderful, I think it's great and he will be blessed for it, I take my hat off to you Jay may God bless you as you have to others.

    September 8, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Civis

    Jay Leno gave up 15 million dollars of his salary. It is sickening how the USA treats its people.

    September 8, 2012 at 5:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Errol

      Jay Leno, an American, took a 50 percent pay cut to save his co worker's jobs. What is so bad about an american helping his fellow americans out? More super wealthy could take a lesson from Jay Leno. He is too wealthy to ever run out of money. He knows he doesn't need any more, so he gave up half his pay. What is so tragic is that half his pay is all the pay of half his staff. I'd say Jay Leno, a true american, treated his staff pretty good.

      September 8, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kurs jazdy

    My brother suggested I might like this blog. He was once entirely right. This put up actually made my day. You can not believe simply how so much time I had spent for this information! Thank you!

    August 29, 2012 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  7. Lisa Marie

    Ahh yes, "The Expendables!" And Conin's doing great on his new Network. That's Karma baby!!! {;-p'"

    August 27, 2012 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Poetry

    You really make it appear really easy with your presentation however I find this topic to be really something which I believe I might never understand. It kind of feels too complex and very extensive for me. I am having a look forward to your subsequent post, I will attempt to get the hold of it!

    August 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Paul Norman

    I think it is wonderful that Jay is so kind to take a big pay cut to support his staff. I hope that sends a message to all those greedy CEO's out there who make huge bucks for doing crap. I know Jay works very hard to make a hard job look fun and easy..his stffers are tremendously talented people who deserve better.

    About NBC, well, yes, they must have to look at the bottom line all the time... but I would think there are a lot of other places they could cut stff than the Tonight Show. Well, it's another sign of the times...I'm sure that for those staffers that may not return to the Tonight Show, having that on their resume should secure them a new great paying job elsewhere in the TV land arena. Kudos to Jay Leno for once again being a sport and helping out these great folks!

    August 27, 2012 at 4:18 am | Report abuse |
  10. Leno

    he's getting kicked around for this one...let it be.

    August 26, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  11. Shy

    shy is a complete different dynamic, i know a shy person and an idiot. a shy person can act like an idiot to cover up the insecurity. i know difference between the 2.

    August 26, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  12. Personality

    i'm 68 and and much more experienced– your personality is everything..i work with some of the richest men in the u.s...they all have personality not that they are not oscar the grouches but when its time to perform its time to perform.

    leno thought the jokes were funny at the time.he later realized it became annoying to the public.

    August 26, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  13. mikeao

    I should start off by saying I don't think any of the late night shows will ever be as great as Johnny Carson. I'm 58 so I doubt I'm the target audience anymore. Comcast and other so called "media giants" only care about the bottom line so they continue to suck NBC dry for profits. Eventually there will be no more creative shows with great personalities just forgettable garbage. Sad!

    August 26, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  14. Leno#1


    August 25, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  15. Contracting Info

    Thanks a lot for sharing this with all of us you really recognize what you are speaking about! Bookmarked. Kindly also seek advice from my website =). We can have a hyperlink alternate arrangement between us

    August 25, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  16. 6.4?

    leno needs to walk out of the studio first before he hits the toy store.

    August 23, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  17. guest

    If he had taken a 2 M paycut then those 25 people could have kept their jobs. I'm sure it would be difficult to live on $19M though.

    August 23, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Ralph J. Monasterio

      I feel sorry for Jay Leno taking a "pay cut". However......he SHOULDN'T make jokes about his bretheren LOSING their jobs. Losing a job is NOT a joke in anybody's SCHEDULE.

      And.....IF he took a "pay cut", maybe his running jokes weren't SO FUNNY after all....HENCE the LOWERED ratings. I don't know why he makes such big bucks.......and his "underlings" make a lot less.

      I guess, being a "professional" joker COSTS a LOT of MONEY.

      September 8, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  18. agoac

    Hey, true story, didja hear about this, didja read about this?

    Seems 20 people here got laid off! Maybe I need to beef up my 401k!!!

    August 22, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  19. SKY


    August 22, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Sunshine

    The Tonight Show with Jay Leno has been #1 for years -and it continues to be #1 in late night talk shows. Jay–do your thing, keep smiling, keep joking and stay above the haters!

    August 22, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  21. shark

    where's my man shark..when is this gonna stop.

    August 22, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Sharkmann

    I never watch his show so I should not comment, oops too late.

    August 22, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  23. 22X Richer

    Leno was overpaid for years. A classic 1-percenter.

    August 22, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  24. I love Alaska .. I've been there 3 times (white)

    you must drive there sometime its wonderful

    August 22, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Alaska

    Leno is about the least funny person on this planet, can't stand this guy.

    August 22, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • ross

      Do you really think anyone cares what a loser like you thinks? Answer – NO

      August 23, 2012 at 7:03 am | Report abuse |
  26. white fat pig

    as long as it remains number 1 i will always watch it ...its a great show.l

    August 22, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • MC

      As long as it's #1? Wow, so you're a mindless sheep? I thought you were a fat pig.

      August 22, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  27. white fat pig

    i will continue to watch it forever as long as it remains #1

    August 22, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  28. toughcool

    How is this guy still going? One of the corniest, least original guys out there. Just TV for dumb people.

    August 22, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |

    i love leno and will watch him every single night

    August 22, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  30. white fat pig


    August 22, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  31. nunya

    i ll watch leno forever. me love !

    August 22, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  32. whale pig

    we love leno

    August 22, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Scott

    Leno has absolutely zero class. As demonstrated yet again.

    August 22, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Pete

    This is actually Leno's fault. He never adjusted his budget, payroll or staff when he went back to late night. He just assumed he should get everything he wanted. He should have agreed to these cuts on a more gradual scale until delaying it.

    August 22, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  35. leno

    the usual setups goodbye

    August 22, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  36. palintwit

    Why not let Sarah Palin host the show? She can sit behind the desk and wink while her fat cow daughter Bristol prances around the stage demonstrating her buttplug.

    August 22, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Eric

    I thought the reason they moved him to prime time a while back was to put a cheap show in prime time.

    August 22, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Ed

    Scratch my first comment. I forgot that by definition only business people can be 1%'ers. Entertainment people can make as much money as they want. Wonder how much he pays in taxes.

    August 22, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Ed

    Filthy 1%'er he should of cut his salary further so no one needed to be laid off.

    August 22, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  40. gina

    lots to learn about Jay Leno-he needs to work on his schtick so the public can get it.

    August 22, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  41. us_1776

    That's what happens when Bain get their "mitts" on you.


    August 22, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  42. wntohidawy

    ve maybe.

    August 22, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  43. Jay Who

    I didnt even know the tonight show was still around.

    August 22, 2012 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  44. Kevin Masters

    Let's do the math...20 workers at 150K is 3 million. Jay makes 20 million. If he could survive on 15 million instead ( who couldn't? ) he could keep all those employees and even hire more.

    I'm going to have to call BS on this story. Talk about out of touch with values. Nice job, Jay. Now can you try to actually be funny? That might justify your paycheck.

    August 22, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  45. Clyde M

    I just laid off half my staff! Let me make fun of the situation! Ha! Comedy gold...

    August 22, 2012 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • what?

      Did you not read the original blog post and see what he actually said? he wasn't making fun of the fact that his staff was laid off. rather, he was lashing out at the network for cutting them. This goes for half the comments on this blog. Why don't people read first and comment later?

      September 8, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Lucio1996

    Corporate GREED!!! that is what this is ALL about. We need to wake up and see that this "trickle down" CRAP is NOT working. You give more money to the rich, all they will want in return is MORE MONEY!!!


    August 22, 2012 at 6:26 am | Report abuse |
    • James Hawk III

      @Lucio1996 – if I understand your thesis, the problem here is that the rich (as exemplified by corporations), just want more money. Let's look at this. Lots of retirement funds–for teachers and other public employees, as well as private–are invested in corporations. Since Social Security simply can't pay for even a reasonable lifestyle without supplement, I think the corporations are doing us a favor. And as for the "want more money" angle overall–besides priests, monks, and nuns, have you ever met ANYONE, rich, middle class, or poor, that didn't want more money? I'll bet you yourself want more money. That could–and I blush to say it–make you part of the problem as you see it, not the solution....

      August 22, 2012 at 6:48 am | Report abuse |
    • DrEvil

      Leno makes $20 million per year, he could take less than a 10% cut and everyone could keep their jobs and benefits and the problem is corporate greed?

      August 22, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  47. jacksays

    so people lose their jobs on his show and Leno... jokes about it.

    Classy guy.

    Of course, after what he did to (or allowed to happen to) Conan just so he could get back in the big chair showed his level of class long ago.

    August 22, 2012 at 6:15 am | Report abuse |
  48. M

    i guess he didn't read the ny times...another 1 million people will out of work by the end of the first quarter.

    August 22, 2012 at 5:58 am | Report abuse |
  49. North Dallas Don

    When the government sector reduces its own funds and eliminates workers as a result, the consequences are grimm. As long as we exercise this type of negative-economics our nation's situation will not improve. I don't doubt the good intention of the tea party people but, sadly, what they are doing is very damaging. In a roundabout way they are at least partly responsible for the cuts in Leno's staff.

    August 22, 2012 at 2:16 am | Report abuse |
  50. LizardLance

    Republicans and Tea Party people everywhere are rejoicing. More cuts in spending and more layoffs. This is what the right wing is all about - the ultimate destruction of our country as we know it.

    August 22, 2012 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
  51. Quid Malmborg in Plano TX

    Jay Leno being shot dead on live TV would be the greatest boost to NBC's ratings since the series finale of "Seinfeld." But the NBC suits were thinking ahead years ago when they began pre-recording "The Tonight Show." Dream on.

    August 21, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vietvet6869

      yall texas rednecks got no sense of humor, hail yall got no sense of any kind

      sin't yall the richard craniums who elected that walkin, talking, windup, incoherent,gutless, yeller,crakered hillbilly twice ??

      Yall should be hanged for that alone

      August 22, 2012 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
    • omar

      thats a bit excessive, but it is safe to say that viewers watching him being murdered on tv would trump those watching you... on a lighter note, at least some individuals in the 1% are mindful of the economic conditions, as he could have just brushed off the layoffs and sit comfortably on his paycheck. ANYONE making ANY amount of money will want to maximize it so just because you may not be in that financial category doesnt mean you aren't frugal with your hard earned finances.

      August 22, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  52. Jack

    Greetings folks. Everyone is cordially invited to visit – thestarofkaduri.com

    August 21, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Greenspam

    Leno: Knock knock
    Tonight show's employee: Who's there?
    Leno: Not you anymore.

    August 21, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  54. muham

    Praise Allah!

    August 21, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  55. HeeeeresJohnny

    I think it was a decent thing to do. Probably should have had all of the higher ups take a pay cut. You know they rode Jays coat tails during good times.

    August 21, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hillbilly Hunter

      Yall think mutt would have done that ?, or would he have fired everyone except himself?

      August 22, 2012 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
  56. tjudd

    Why did Leno allow 20 people to be layed off- he should have taken a bigger cut and gave that portion to the employee's so they would not lose their jobs. Greed.... He must be a republican.

    August 21, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chelly

      did you read where he put he took a HUGe pay cut. I mean really do You expect him to work for FREE because he is wealthy.. COME on ppl

      August 21, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • verystrange

      First off, the 20-25 that were "let go" were given the option of taking a pay cut and decided NOT to. They were all producers, so they were all making BIG bucks. Not LENO bucks, but probably $150K per year. Leno didn't have to take ANY pay cut, he OFFERED to in order to save as many jobs as possible. I doubt that Leno is a Republican, he's not smart enough. I doubt that you're a Democrat, you're too stupid.

      August 21, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • themiddle

      He's actually a Democrat and a huge supporter of Obama.

      August 22, 2012 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Hillbilly Hunter

      When they gave limblob $50 Million a year, Clear Channel fired 3000 people to pay him, look it up

      August 22, 2012 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
  57. lroy

    I don't think any of those people who got laid off are laughing.

    August 21, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  58. T,M, Laney

    Jay is no Republican as someone mentioned. He is anti-republican, pro-gay and liberal. Just replay his monologues. That being said, Jay (and Letterman) both love to trash Romney for his wealth when in reality they probably are both worth more than Romney and you can be sure their tax lawyers are getting their taxes down to the absolute minimum allowed just like Romney. Yes, poor Jay; he was making $25 million on the tonight show alone and took a cut to $20 million. This does not include the money he makes in Vegas/Reno. Where does he get off calling himself one of the average Joes. Let us see your tax returns Jay (and Letterman). They used to be funny, now they are both politcal know it alls. Let's get some fresh talent in that will work for chump change ($5 or 6 million).

    August 21, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eukannt Avmai Adey

      Yeah, except they actually WORK for a living, entertaining people, Romney was a business criminal and corporate vampire who stole every penny he's got. There's a difference.

      August 22, 2012 at 2:17 am | Report abuse |
  59. Clete

    I really don't think people losing their jobs is really something he should be joking about.

    August 21, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer89

      Vote Obama out of Office – Vote for someone who will respect America.

      August 21, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • davedave2

      did you read the article - the jokes are at he expense of the boss Comcast and NBC

      August 21, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  60. Joseph

    He's a Republican Hack.Say hello to the next Sarah Palin.

    August 21, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ugh

      everyone was at a gooof outing , so i was stuck with bloggers all day!

      August 21, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  61. mrskool

    I have been watching and recording The Tonight Show for years but lately i have been fast forwarding thru most of it. I like the monologue but the best part of the show is Monday Night Headlines. Some of the other bits are ok but they should get rid of JayWalking which is totally phony and stupid !

    August 21, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Flat Tire

    Believe me .. a total flat tire

    August 21, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  63. gee wizz bummer wow.

    who cares.

    August 21, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  64. jimmy

    Conan was always a bum..or sorry bomb

    August 21, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  65. Love Leno

    never a bully and always pleasant.

    August 21, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  66. Margo

    he is well regarded and someone we should respect in the industry. stop being a bully.. bullys pay consequences
    after awhile. be nice and enjoy blogging

    August 21, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Jay Leno

    wanna fly out to see him?

    August 21, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  68. KARMA 2

    I just love blogging it brings us all together as one doesnt it.

    August 21, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  69. Union City.

    watch it that was my old grammar school.

    August 21, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  70. Leno

    on stage he has not changed at all..i also have seen him in NY..same comedy timing. he's really funny.

    August 21, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  71. Leon Peris

    Jay will revive the show.

    August 21, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  72. i agree..

    you don't always know what leno is thinking politically. its hard to read him.

    August 21, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  73. Phil Esteen

    While I am certainly NOT a fan of Jay's politics, I believe he is a decent, down-to-earth guy who would probably pay his staff's payroll out of his own pocket. Jay may not be the best interviewer or the most cutting edge comedian in the 'late night wars,' but his show can be very entertaining.

    August 21, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pendy

      "While I am certainly NOT a fan of Jay's politics,..."What ARE his politics, exactly? Both parties seem to be equal opportunity targets, to me.

      August 21, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  74. Karma

    Welcome to the greatest recession since the Great Depression, N B C leftist cheerleader. You voted yourselves out of a job. There are many innocent economic victims that never voted for BO. You are not innocent and richly deserve unemployment as a consequence of your poor judgment. Alas, you're in California so the government will cover your unemployment, mortgage, food ...

    August 21, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  75. Brett Hudson

    your right Leno is boring

    August 21, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  76. Lawanda

    They need to get someone good on there like Martin Laurence or Chris Rock.

    August 21, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimmer

      Yes I'm sure some no talent hack like Martin Lawrence would do better in the ratings than Jay Leno.

      Just because they are black does not mean they don't suck.

      August 21, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deshawn

      "Good like Chris Rock"? Really? LMAO. He's a bitter rac1st. If you're laughing at his jokes that reflects poorly upon you.

      August 21, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • joyce


      August 22, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  77. Techno Viking

    no matter what they are paying him he's still overpaid. Cut his salary to $1 and see if he still shows up. Can't watch his show anymore no matter who the guests are. Terrible jokes, bad skits, talking over guests, etc. Should have left Conan on there long enough for him to build his own following. 100 times funnier than Leno

    August 21, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • @ Techno Viking

      If you can find someone who shows up for $1 (outside of a homeless person) by all means go ahead and enlighten us. In the meantime, leave the decisions on salary to those who actually have a right to decide. Keep on hating. No one asked you to watch Leno!

      August 21, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimmer

      Conan is hilarious, if you are a hipster dikweed.

      Conan bombed in the ratings, then shafted himself, then blamed Leno when NBC realized Conan could not fill Jays shoes and brought Jay back.

      Conan blows. His hair is funnier than his jokes. If he were half as funny as he thinks he is, he might actually be funny.

      August 21, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      If you are so ill-informed as to believe that Conan doesnt have a following (why do you think he got the job in the first place before Leno?), I am not sure your opinion is even worth listening to.

      ...and wow, work for a dollar? How much do you get paid, because I have a feeling regardless of how much you say, it will be too much.

      August 21, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • @ @ Techno Viking

      I'll do it for $1. My point was he is overpaid for anything more than $1. and if you can't figure it out, I don't watch the hack

      August 22, 2012 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
    • BrianW

      He has horrible writers, he delivers poorly, and comes off like a pompous ass.

      August 22, 2012 at 3:57 am | Report abuse |
    • bleh

      Here's an idea: Let Leno take a 100% pay cut, and replace him with someone who's actually funny. That will take care of the poor ratings therefore no need to lay off anyone. Plus, the show may actually improve.

      September 14, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  78. Martinpr

    leno has been around a long time, i remember seeing at the ritz yrs ago.

    August 21, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |

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