If a presidential candidate goes on the “Tonight Show” and no one cares, did it really happen — or matter? Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) looked fabulous in her orange ensemble and Hollywood hair and makeup. But, man, was she a dud.

Bachmann did her usual talking points about HPV and the alleged abuse of “executive privilege” by Gov. Rick Perry (R-Tex.). Yes, she did find a way to utter “crony capitalism” a couple of times. And when asked about the teary woman who told her after the Florida debate that her daughter was harmed by the HPV vaccine, Bachmann demurred, saying she wasn’t speaking as a doctor. She also talked about the raising debt-ceiling deal, which she still thinks is a bad idea. And then Jay Leno asked Bachmann about the mental-health clinic her husband runs. He specifically asked about the “pray the gay away” nonsense that comes out of there.

“The whole ‘pray the gay away’ thing,” Leno said quizzically, scrunching his face. “I don’t get that.” Bachmann replied, “When I heard that, I really I thought it was like a kind of a midlife crisis line. ‘Pray away the gray.’ That’s what I thought it was.” Lame. Actually, that word characterizes my overall thought of Bachmann’s “Tonight Show” appearance.

Folks usually go on the late-night shows to humanize themselves and show a different side of their personality that hopefully will translate into renewed interest. While Bachmann didn’t hurt herself by saying anything (else) of questionable veracity, she didn’t help herself either. She sat on Leno’s chair in the shadow of Perry and Mitt Romney and left under the same conditions.