James Douglas Muir "Jay" Leno (born April 28, 1950) is an American comedian, actor, and television host. After doing standup comedy for years, he became the host of NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno from 1992 to 2014, except for a time between June 2009 and February 2010 when it was supposed that he would be succeeded by Conan O'Brien while beginning in September 2009 a primetime talk show, titled The Jay Leno Show, which aired weeknights at 10:00 p.m., also on NBC; however, a controversy led to Leno returning to host The Tonight Show. He hosted his last episode of The Tonight Show on February 6, 2014.
Tropes associated with his work:
- Doing It for the Art: He believes that comedy is best experienced live and in the moment and refuses to record stand-up specials because he feels that home audiences will not be able to get the proper gist of his jokes because they weren't in the room at the time the jokes were made.
- Growing the Beard: It's generally agreed that it took Jay a few years into settling into hosting The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, with him truly getting comfortable around the time Kevin Eubanks became his bandleader and the two began establishing a rapport.
- Money, Dear Boy: He is well-known for being financially cautious, always working two jobs and only spending the smaller of the two incomes unless he absolutely had to dip into the other. Even when he was making tens of millions of dollars a year as the host of The Tonight Show, he'd do at least 150 stand-up shows a year and only use the income from those live appearances.
- What Could Have Been: He was offered the job of hosting an American version of Top Gear but turned it down, because the commercialized nature of American TV meant that the show wouldn't be able to freely criticize the cars being reviewed.