Jay Leno might be done with The Tonight Show, but he’s not done in front of the camera. The affable late night host has been announced as a special mentor on Last Comic Standing.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the episode in question, “Title Round”, will air on Thursday night on NBC. The five remaining contestants will head to Las Vegas, where they’ll be able to ask Leno anything and everything about his decades in the business. He’s worked both the comedy circuit and in front of the camera; so, assumedly, he’ll have a lot of great advice for everyone still trying to make their marks.
When Johnny Carson walked away from The Tonight Show, he basically walked away from fame altogether. He secretly kept sending in jokes to longtime buddy David Letterman and made the occasional appearance to honor someone else he admired, but basically, he up and vanished. Jay Leno isn’t cut from that same fabric, however. He didn’t walk away from NBC when his original run was up as Tonight Show host, and now, it seem as if he’s planning to make NBC-related appearances for years to come.
If that’s his thing, more power to him. For some, it’s about leaving on top, or somewhere close to it. For others, it’s about extending that time in front of the camera and that earning power for as long as possible. It’s the old John Lennon vs Paul McCartney argument. There might be a coolness about Lennon since we never watched him get old, but at the same time, he’s also not changing the world anymore. So, it’s a classic fork in the road, and hilariously, most people expect Leno’s longtime rival David Letterman to wind up going in the opposite, secluded direction.
I’m sure Jay Leno’s fans aren’t complaining though, nor are these comedians who got some great advice from the industry veteran. He’s been there and done that numerous times and worked with damn near everyone in show business. So, something tells me everyone involved here took a seat and listened.
Last Comic Standing has been on and off the air for more than a decade in various forms with a slew of different hosts. It’s relatively cheap to produce, and given it offers a nice light and happy product, it’s something that can be picked up and enjoyed without a huge investment. In short, it works very well as a summer fill-in, and as such, it could continue to get more seasons.