James Douglas Muir "Jay" Leno (born April 28, 1950 in New Rochelle, New York) 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:
- Cool Car: Leno loves cars. He is well-known for his impressive vehicle collection at his Jay Leno's Big Dog Garage, to the point that he hosts a TV series for CNBC titled Jay Leno's Garage.
- Cool Bike: He also has more than a few motorcycles, too.
- 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.
- Lantern Jaw of Justice: He occasionally pokes fun at his prominent jawnote , even daring Hulk Hogan and other members of NWO to take a jab at it when he and Kevin Eubanks appeared with Diamond Dallas Page.
- 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.
- Motor Mouth: When performing stand-up, he talks very fast while rambling at length. During he heyday as a stand-up comic, it wasn't unusual for him to keep talking for hours without tiring and have venue operators to leave him the keys so they could go home for the night.
- Old Shame: Is not fond of the 1989 buddy-cop movie Collision Course, in which he was paired with Pat Morita.
- Real Men Eat Meat: He's spoken on air about how he didn't eat vegetables for decades. None other than Michelle Obama came on the Tonight Show to get Jay to eat healthier. He's since made changes to his lifestyle.
- Wham Line: One of the most memorable moments of his career came in 1995, when he had Hugh Grant on his show as a guest right after Grant had gotten busted getting busy with a prostitute in his car. Leno opened the interview by looking Grant straight in the eye and asking him, "What the hell were you thinking?" The moment quickly became meme-worthy (as much as you possibly could in 1995) and is in hindsight seen as the turning point where Leno found his footing and regained the #1 slot from David Letterman.
- What Could Have Been:
- 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. He was offered the job of hosting an American version of
- According to Jimmy Kimmel, ABC came close to poaching Leno to host a Tonight Show competitor in late 2008 as Conan O'Brien was getting ready to take over. The Jay Leno Show was the result of NBC's last ditch effort to retain him.