By ADAM BUCKMAN
NEW YORK, March 28, 2013 — Jay Leno returned to joking about NBC in his “Tonight Show” monologue Wednesday night, but he reserved his best comedic “comment” on his situation for the show’s second segment.
It was the nightly comedy bit that always comes after the monologue segment. Wednesday’s was called “What’s Trending Tomorrow” — a parody of what’s trending “today” on social media, with Jay pushing the subject forward to “tomorrow.”
The item about late-night TV was a great joke, and possibly the most direct comment Leno has made — comedically, of course — about the rumors swirling around him that he’ll be replaced next year. While most of the jibes he’s delivered since March 11 about the late-night situation and NBC’s struggle for prime-time ratings have fallen just short of including the key details, this was the first time he has mentioned the name of the man who will likely replace him, Jimmy Fallon. Leno also mentioned David Letterman, who was a key part of the punchline.
In the bit, which you can watch here, Jay said:
“Trending right now … Jay Leno beset by rumors he’s being replaced by a younger host [a picture of Jimmy Fallon was then shown on a screen behind Jay]. Trending tomorrow … David Letterman also being replaced by a younger host … [then a photo of Leno himself was shown]. Yeah! Yeah! There you go!” Leno said. “I like that one! That was a fun one.”
He was right — it was a fun one. For the record, Fallon is 38, Leno is 62 and Letterman is 65 (Leno and Letterman will be 63 and 66, respectively, next month).
Previously: Move ‘The Tonight Show’ to NYC? Fuhgeddaboutit!
Leno opened his Wednesday monologue with an NBC joke — the first one he delivered since last Friday (after abstaining from the NBC jibes on Monday and Tuesday of this week).
“Folks, oh, my God, listen to this,” Leno said. “Monday night the [NBC] prime-time shows ‘The Voice’ and ‘Revolution’ moved NBC into the No. 2 position. You know what that means? No. 2 — between Easter and Passover, this is truly the season of miracles! We’re No. 2! We’re No. 2! Amazing! … And I’ve been saying that for the last week, that NBC is a big No. 2! Haven’t I been saying that? Congratulations!”
A few minutes later, Jay delivered a second NBC joke, this one referring to the sanctity of contracts: “Speaking of T-Mobile,” he said (following a joke about a prison inmate who tried to smuggle a cellphone into a California prison for Charlie Manson), “they announced yesterday they are doing away with contracts. So apparently they got the idea from NBC! I’m not sure how that works!”
Of course, no rumor has yet suggested that NBC seeks to break or otherwise “do away” with Leno’s contract. The reports have said only that he’s not likely to get a new contract when his current one expires in 2014 — which is when he would then be replaced by Fallon.
Contact Adam Buckman: email@example.com