About Jay Leno
James Douglas Muir "Jay" Leno was born on April 28, 1950, in New Rochelle, New York. His homemaker mother, Catherine, was born in Greenock, Scotland. She migrated to the United States at age 11. On the other hand, Leno’s father, Angelo, was an insurance salesman who was born in New York. Leno’s paternal grandparents are immigrants from Flumeri, Italy. Jay Leno grew up in Andover, Massachusetts, and he graduated from Andover High School. Leno obtained a bachelor's degree in speech therapy from Emerson College. It was during his college days that he started a comedy club in 1973. Leno had one other sibling, who is his older brother, Patrick (May 12, 1940 – October 6, 2002), was a Vietnam War veteran who later worked as an attorney.
Jay Leno Career
During the 1970s, Leno appeared in minor roles in a number of television series and films. His very first role was in the 1976 episode "J.J. in Trouble" of Good Times. In the same year, he appeared in the pilot of Holmes & Yo-Yo. On March 2, 1977, Leno made his first appearance on The Tonight Show, performing a comedy routine. Thereafter, he played more prominent roles in American Hot Wax and Silver Bears (1978), Almost Heaven (1978), "Going Nowhere" (1979) from One Day at a Time, Americathon (1979), Polyester (1981), "The Wild One" (1981) from Alice, "Feminine Mistake" (1979), and "Do the Carmine" (1983) from Laverne & Shirley. However, Leno's only starring film role was the 1989 direct-to-video Collision Course, opposite Pat Morita. Also, he also appeared numerous times on Late Night with David Letterman.
Jay Leno's The Tonight Show
Since 1986, Leno became a regular substitute host for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. Eventually, in 1992, he replaced Carson as host amid controversy with David Letterman, who had been hosting Late Night with David Letterman since 1982. Leno was the expected successor for Carson and this scandalous story was later turned into a book. Leno continued to perform as a stand-up comedian during his tenure on The Tonight Show.
In 2004, Leno signed an extension with NBC which kept him as the host of The Tonight Show for the next five years. Later in the year, Leno was replaced by Conan O’Brien as the host of The Tonight Show. Leno said in 2008 that he was saving all of his income from The Tonight Show and living solely off his income from stand-up comedy.
On December 8, 2008, it was reported that Leno would remain on NBC. However, Leno was given a new hour-long show titled The Jay Leno Show, debuted on September 14, 2009. This show followed a similar format to The Tonight Show. It was filmed in the same studio facility and retained many of Leno's most popular segments. First guests included Jerry Seinfeld, Oprah Winfrey (via satellite), and a short sit-down with Kanye West.
Unfortunately, neither O'Brien nor Leno succeeded in delivering the viewing audiences the network anticipated. On January 7, 2010, multiple media outlets reported that beginning March 1, 2010, Jay Leno’s show was pushed back to 11.35 pm and shortened to only 30 minutes. Where else, O’ Brien’s show was pushed back past midnight.
On January 10, NBC confirmed that they would move Jay Leno out of primetime as of February 12 and intended to move him to late night as soon as possible. O'Brien's final episode aired on Friday, January 22, 2010, as he was chose to leave the Tonight Show rather than having it shown at 12.05 am. Leno returned as host of The Tonight Show following the 2010 Winter Olympics on March 1, 2010.
Despite the one million drop in viewership for the second quarter of 2010, compared to the same period in 2009, Tonight was still the most-watched late night program. The show stands ahead of ABC's Nightline (3.7 million) and Late Show with David Letterman (3.3 million).
On April 3, 2013, NBC announced that Leno would leave The Tonight Show in spring 2014. His designated successor would be Jimmy Fallon. Leno's final show as the host of the Tonight Show was on February 6, 2014, with his final guest Billy Crystal and musical guest Garth Brooks. The show’s final episode also included a few other surprise guests, such as Jack Black, Kim Kardashian, Jim Parsons, Sheryl Crow, Chris Paul, Carol Burnett, and Oprah Winfrey.
After Tonight, Leno maintained an active schedule as a touring stand-up comedian. On an average per year, Leno puts on 200 live shows a year in venues across the United States and Canada as well as charity events and USO tours. He has also made appearances on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and on Late Night with Seth Meyers. Leno was also a guest on the finale of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Additionally, he did a cameo drilling and torturing James Corden in a boot camp for talk show hosts on the premiere of The Late Late Show with James Corden. However, Jay Leno declined to appear on Late Show with David Letterman although there were speculations that he would make an appearance on the show's finale.
Since 2015, Leno has also hosted an hour-long Jay Leno's Garage special on CNBC, and the show has aired as a primetime series on the cable channel. Currently, Leno is also a cast member of the Tim Allen comedy “Last Man Standing”. He plays a mechanic named Joe Leonard in the store that is operated by Mike Baxter (Tim Allen).