Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Redemption of Jay Leno (Plus: Charles Barkley All Sparkly!*)

Jay Leno interviews Johnny Weir on the Tonight Show
Monday, March 22, 2010.

Let's just be clear: I'm Team Conan all the way. I thought Jay Leno should have gotten into one of his 12 million cars last June and driven quietly away into some other phase of his life that didn't involve trying to hang on to something that had already been given away to someone else, like your older brother resenting you getting his hand-me-downs.

But no. He hung around NBC at 10 p.m. (9 p.m. Central) like embarrassing, garrulous, strange-smelling Uncle Bobby, who tells the same bad jokes over and over and just can't take the hint, even when your mom has put away the dishes, the kids have all gone upstairs, and your father finally says heartily, "Goodness! Look at the time! We've got to go to bed so Bobby can leave!"

But like Bobby, Jay just WOULDN'T GO AWAY. Which was apparently the sum total of his employment strategy. Until finally everyone did go to bed and then got up the next morning to find that Bobby had smoked the last of the cigarettes hidden in the buffet and had taken your dad's car to go to the liquor store. Again.

Which is how we found ourselves with no cigarettes, and no Conan, and Jay back on the Tonight Show set, which still feels weird. And I have refused to watch the show since his return.

Until, of course, last night. Because Johnny Weir was on. And that sentence has caused me to watch all kinds of shows that I have previously stepped over like old gum on the sidewalk.

Of course I TiVo'd the show so I could just fast-forward to the glam and glitter. And then I watched the interview.

And wow. Jay, you totally redeemed yourself. In a really big way.

Jay started off by showing a clip of Johnny at the Olympics and saying, "I really like this kid," and then it just got better from there.

He had the band play the Olympic theme when Johnny walked out.

He made a point of saying that Johnny was a two-time Olympian and three-time U.S. National Champion.

He also emphasized that Johnny grew up in Amish country, that he put his brother through college, and that he helps his family out financially.

He never once uttered the words, "gender orientation," "sexual preference," or "Evan Lysacek."

And then he said: "Let me ask you about this whole Stars on Ice tour. There's a little bit of a controversy here."

Johnny explained the story pretty much as we know it, that the comment came up several years ago, and that in all his years of skating, he has not once been invited to skate with SOI.

Jay responded by reiterating Johnny's solid upbringing and his care for his family, and said of Johnny, "You can't get more family-friendly than that!"

And he said, "It seems that you would be PERFECT for that kind of a show."

And, "It's SHOW business. And it seems very unfair."

And then he asked, "If they invited you now, would you go on this tour?"

Jay ended the interview with, "Johnny, good luck, my friend." (And the very wise advice to not do anything flamboyant while speaking Arabic.)

Now, if you know anything about Jay Leno, you know that, even with the whole Conan debacle, he is still a very, very powerful man in Hollywood (still on the Forbes' Top 100 Most Powerful Celebrities list. And still very good friends with Oprah Winfrey, who is ranked no. 2 on that list).

And if you know how he interviews, you know that between the lines, he just issued a challenge to Smuckers Stars on Ice: "You got one last chance here, people. Give the kid an invitation. Because I like this kid. He's a friend of mine."

I don't know if it will make a difference. But I do know that Jay Leno stuck his neck out last night and put the full force of the tremendous influence that he wields behind Johnny Weir.

Johnny's out in front right now, and Jay Leno just stepped up to stand beside him.

Jay, I just might have to watch your show more often.

'Night, Uncle Bobby.

Favorite Weir-isms from the Tonight Show interview:
"And then all of a sudden, BAM! This popped out!"
"Well, I'm hideous. I've got a comb-over, that's for sure."

Don't miss this clip from the beginning
of last night's Tonight Show
featuring an "awkward fashion moment"
between Johnny and a surprisingly sparkly Charles Barkley!

*Special thanks to Lauren Ashbaugh, Johnny Weir Facebook fan, for this little gem of a phrase! copyright 2010 / Binky and the Misfit Mimes / Lynn V. Ingogly / all rights reserved


laura linger said...

Go to bed, hippie!

A quick word about Sir Charles. When he lived here in Phoenix, playing for the Suns, he and I went to the same gym. I met him in a jacuzzi, of all places, and I didn't know who he was. He couldn't believe that, but he laughed and was very nice. From then on, every time he saw me, he called me "Little Gidget."

Anonymous said...

You are so dedicated...thanks for posting this so early in the morning after Johnny aired on the Tonight Show! It was a late evening for all to catch this great interview.

auntyamyj said...

Ahh my dear Misfit, it was a wonderful interview wasn't it? I didn't think Johnny could get any cuter, and then he sat next to Charles Barkley and WOW! I'm proud of him and I'm proud of Jay too!

Moe said...

Haha, I still think I'll be boycotting Jay's show for a while. I will hold out that Conan gets his own late night show on Fox and blows Jay out of the water. I do agree that Jay nearly redeemed himself in that interview though. He didn't say anything douche-y and I honestly never expected him to bring up the SOI thing so that surprised the hell outta me. I love how Johnny just kinda snuck the whole prospect of 'doing his own tour' in there and put out the word that he needs sponsors. Take that Evan Lysacek!

Anonymous said...

Once again, thanks for saying exactly what I was thinking. But making it much funnier and more eloquent than the jumble of my thoughts! -Wendy

Joanne said...

Yes, Jay has redeemed himself a lot with this really nice interview. Wow, we are so used to hearing Johnny dissed it's almost a shock to hear a normal conversation that's actually about him and his career! I would LOVE to see Johnny's rockin' show concept! Note to any potential commercial sponsors out there... you get it launched, we will come!!! You'll make money and we'll all be happy. Sponsor Johnny!

Juls said...

I'm not a Tonight Show fan but I did DVR the interview and LOVED it! And I adore the clip you posted on your blog with the purple sparkle shirts. That's just perfect!