The Washington Post

Forgot about Jay

Jay Leno ends his run as "Tonight Show" host Thursday. (NBC) Jay Leno ends his run as “Tonight Show” host Thursday. (NBC)

I have a comedy crime to confess: I used to watch “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” And I liked it.

Before you take away my comedy-snob card, I should say that I was a teenager who didn’t know any better. But I’m finally ready to admit it: I once thought Leno was funny.

I used to stay up on school nights to watch Leno read funny headlines from newspapers. I can remember enjoying Jaywalking, his man-on-the-street bit. And I laughed at his monologue jokes about Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. I looked forward to Fridays, in part because I could stay awake for an entire episode.

Yet, as Leno prepares to wrap his second stint as host of the NBC talk show this Thursday, I don’t feel anything. I’m not going to watch his final episode, nor will I put much thought into his next move.

Leno influenced my taste in comedy at a young age, even if I can’t quite figure how he did. I was too young then to think critically about comedy. I just laughed at anything I found funny — it didn’t matter if it was highbrow or lowbrow, silly or smart.

Like it or not, Leno will always be a part of my humor history.

Rudi Greenberg is Express' Weekend Pass editor and comedy columnist.



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