Jay Leno raced to rescue the Tonight Show monologue segment on October 6. Jimmy Fallon, who took over hosting duties of the tonight show from Leno in February 2014, began the show talking about Bernie Sanders’ campaign with the joke “Apparently you do go back” when he suddenly appeared to be in pain from a pulled hamstring. Announcing that he did not think he could continue, Fallon stated, “Here at the tonight show the monologue must go on.” The moment he asked for someone to “tag” in for him, Leno jumped enthusiastically onto the stage.
Leno took the cue from Fallon’s Sanders joke, taking the show back like he had not been away at all. Without missing a beat, Jay jumped in, continuing the political jokes by remarking on a not-so-nice comment from Ralph Nader about Hillary Clinton. Leno continued with a delightful non-partisan monologue, joking equally about the Democrat and Republican contenders, of course not forgetting to include Trump and Jeb. Leno even gave Obama credit for getting Bin Laden.
Continuing to talk about Osama Bin Laden living in a home in Pakistan for six years with seven women and 23 children, he stated “I’m surprised the guy didn’t shoot himself in the head.”
Jay Leno delightfully gave a nod to his predecessor Johnny Carson. When Leno remarked how the Republicans were saying that the economy was bad, he taunted the audience to shout “How bad is it” in true Carson style. Jay answered with a few “The economy is so bad…” jokes and was then met back on stage by Fallon with his own fun answers to the question. The two smiled and laughed together as they finished the monologue. Jimmy thanked Jay Leno with a big hug, and Leno passed the torch back to Fallon to continue the show.
The throwback’s purpose was to give Leno an appearance to showcase his relevance in advance of the premier of Jay Leno’s new show Jay Leno’s Garage. On October 7 Jay Leno’s Garage premiered on CNBC. Leno has long been known for his love of all things automotive. This is the perfect show for Jay to segue from the every night grind of The Tonight Show to keeping a TV presence in his semi-retirement. The new show takes the viewer into Leno’s customized Big Dog Garage houses, which is home to an amazing collection of wheeled vehicles. Jay is joined on the show by a team of expert mechanics with the goal of being able to repair, restore, and customize any ride.
On October 8, the Los Angeles Times explained, “Jay Leno’s Garage is an extension of his YouTube series of the same title, which is filmed in Leno’s Burbank garage, which contains more than 300 vehicles spread across three warehouses, from Lamborghinis worth more than most family homes to steam-powered contraptions that look as if they were built for Disney fantasies.”
The report by the Los Angeles Times explains how Leno began his love affair with cars when he was a teen working in a Massachusetts used car dealership, where he turned back odometers. The show will have a comic element to it as well both filming in the garage and on the road. In video teasers, Jay can be seen dressing up as an UberBlack driver to pick up passengers. He chats with the riders about Jay Leno and then surprises them by revealing his identity. Jay will have a chance to play host again in his new show, with celebrity guests dropping in to visit and share the car love.
At 65-years-old, Jay proves that he still has the comic chops to keep up with the younger Fallon, even after being away from The Tonight Show for 18 months. With his new show, Leno will now be able to wow fans with his comic timing and his immense knowledge about cars. As he proved in his surprise monologue appearance on Fallon’s Tonight Show, the fans are ready to see Jay Leno back on TV every week.
[Feature image credited Kevin Winter/Staff/Getty Images]