Here’s Proof of Jay’s Hypocrisy

Jan 18, 2010

It’s been amusing to watch apologists for NBC and Jay Leno explain away Conan O’Brien’s brilliant and shockingly candid "People of Earth" letter.

But lest anyone think that the Dick Ebersols of the world are anything less than lying, despicable jerks for stabbing Conan in the chest, let’s go to the record.

[Directly below you’ll see] the video of Jay Leno in 2004, explaining to his "Tonight Show" audience why he wanted to hand the reins over to Conan in 2009.

Listen carefully as Jay tells his (somewhat) disappointed fans, "I don’t want to see Conan go anywhere else … There’s only one person who could do this into his 60s and that’s Johnny Carson …"

B.S. B.S. B.S. B.S. B.S. B.S.


Sorry, that was my detector going off.

Now that Leno has betrayed all of that, can we be done with the "Jay is a nice guy" meme once and forevermore? And can we please stop thinking of Jeff Zucker and his pals as engaging in anything but the most desperate form of CYA — the kind that happens just before you get fired, or suddenly lose $200 million of the company’s money, or both? 

The only part of that whole talk I agreed with was when Leno said, "Conan is a gentleman, funny …"

Yep, he’s both and you’re neither.

Kudos to the FunnyOrDie.com poster who saved the clip from the Tonight Show.


  1. Nbc did this to themselves they forced jay out, then when he started talking to other networks they kissed his butt and gave him the 10:00 spot which was a disaster. Now they want to change it again due to that disaster and conon said he wasnt going to do it. Thats HIS choice. I wish him good luck in the future. This is nobodys fault but NBC

  2. Sadly, there are still plenty of people who believe Jay is a helpless nice guy, despite the fact that all these shady backstabbing business deals “miraculously” work out in his favor.
    Don’t forget, it was Jay Leno’s manager who humiliated JOHNNY CARSON himself in the early ’90s. Carson had Leno’s number.

  3. This clip does indeed prove that Jay is a hypocrite. He should just retire like he’s implying. He can’t find anything else to do with his senior citizen life?! Get a hobby, go back to doing standup, or whatever! By doing this Jay will forever be seen as an Indian Giver!! (Sorry, but I’m not American and I don’t believe in being PC)

  4. This isn’t so much hypocrisy on Jay’s part as much as it was him trying to put on a nice face in light of a crappy situation that NBC put both him and Conan into.
    Granted, either of them could have forced NBC’s hand into choosing one of them but this whole debacle is 92% on NBC.

  5. That clip seemed way too forced. Leno clearly wasn’t happy about it, and he alluded to the fact that he was effectively pushed out for Conan.
    He basically had two choices, say that NBC is kicking me off the show. Or to say that he’s handing the show off. Clearly he wanted neither.
    Personally, I’d be happy if NBC dropped them both and picked up David Chapelle!

  6. Yuri Douchbag… ’nuff Said

  7. @Ben Olko: He HAS a hobby, silly! He owns and primps classic cars!!

  8. Dick Ebersol is such a nasty person. You think he’d be kinder after suffering the loss of his son.
    KARMA’s A BIT** Dick.

  9. Your opinion is moot in light of one simple fact: Leno could defeat Letterman, and did so for a dozen years or more. Conan, on the other hand, was just too goofy for the timeslot, alienating the unhip. Network TV is still a mass medium, so normal comedians do better than the tragically hip. So, look for Leno to recapture the timeslot, especially now that the Hollywood boycott is over (back when they kept the stars off Jay’s primetime show to retaliate for the lost timeslot for their TiVo-magnetic dramas.

  10. So Conan was gunning for Jay’s job five years ago or he would walk. This makes Conan look better than Jay? It appears to me that Conan put Jay in this position because he really, really wanted Jay’s job. How would you like to be asked to quit five years from now from a job you love because someone else would like it… when you’re doing a very good job at it yourself? I can’t blame Conan and his reps negotiating hard for this, but it does appear to have put Jay in a spot to decide what he would do five years from now, or perhaps it was decided for him. Not a pleasant position to be in. Both Conan and Jay are okay in my book. Two people after one job can be messy. I just hope they patch things up between them when it’s all over.

  11. Conan damn well knew he was stepping on Leno’s toes when he signed that NBC contract six years ago. NBC execs deserve all the bashing they’re getting, but why are people making Conan The Opportunist out to be a victim? Considering he was getting s***canned in 2004, Leno handled it in a savvy and tactful way… though Mr. Barnhart likely wouldn’t agree.

  12. Listen, what everyone seems to ignore is that NBC was going to get rid of Conan whether Jay was still around or not. He failed. Yeah, Jay failed at 10. Conan would have gotten half Jay’s numbers. He does not have mass appeal.

  13. Aaron, you’re doing a great job but we’ll be bringing in another guy to do TV Barn five years from now. We’re sure you have no problem with that. In five years from now, if you’d like, we have a supermarket shopper to move your column to. If TV Barn fails with the new writer, we’ll bring you back.

  14. Leno says its not personal it’s business…well it’s neither…its about doing the right thing and the right thing would be for Leno to move on to something else. What an egomaniac Leno is. I’m so done with him.

  15. So if Conan is funny, how come he came in second-place to an unfunny womanizer like Letterman?

  16. I don’t see any evidence of what you’re alleging as hypocrisy.

  17. Of course Jay said that in ’04, was he supposed to rip his successor? Outstanding “proof,” Aaron, you’re one heck of an investigative reporter. I’ll look forward to your book proving that space aliens murdered Elvis from the grassy knoll.

  18. Oh, come on! What was Leno supposed to say 5 years ago when NBC told him they wanted Conan to take over? “They’re pushing me out just like CBS did to Walter Cronkite when he was #1 and they didn’t want to lose Dan Rather??”
    The fact is, CBS was horribly wrong then (Rather ended up in third place for the next 20 years) and NBC should have stayed with their #1 guy Leno as long as he was #1. These networks never learn.
    I don’t see how you can blame Leno for what he said 5 years ago when all he was trying to do was be a team player.
    Second, how can you give Conan a pass for his ratings performance over the last 7 months. SEVEN MONTHS! His ratings are half of what Leno’s were. Now before you say he didn’t have a chance, remember, these days, networks, even CABLE networks, cancel shows after two weeks when they aren’t working. SEVEN MONTHS? Come on…
    Conan could have kept the Tonight show at 12:05. It might have been better than anything he’ll get elsewhere at 11:00 PM. Egos, egos.

  19. So, Jay Leno, decided that he was going to quit a show that was in the number one spot? What was his great plan? To get offers from NBC’s competitors only to turn them down for a weaker version of the show he had been doing previously. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Let’s blame Jay Leno! He’s the one that’s actually running NBC, making all these hiring and firing decisions.
    I will give you this. Jay’s speech about how happy he was to step down…was BS. (As he admitted to in a later broadcast after the rumors about ABC’s offer started to spread…he got fired and was trying to be a good company man.

  20. Way to represent KC!
    Oh, and Jay Leno was given options. He chose the “Conan’s gone” option. Leno has no class.
    From NYTimes:
    Mr. Zucker said that everything he proposed to Mr. Leno had one goal: “I didn’t want to lose Jay.” And he proposed a lot, starting with a half-hour show at 8 p.m. “That seemed way wrong,” Mr. Leno said.
    Mr. Zucker then offered a prime-time slot every Sunday night. “Once a week is death,” Mr. Leno said.
    So Mr. Zucker turned to another NBC Universal property, the USA cable network. Mr. Leno could have 11 p.m. (even though that would have cut into Mr. O’Brien’s “Tonight Show”). “That sort of seemed like living in the basement of your own house,” Mr. Leno said. “I’m still old enough to think network is the place.”

  21. Can you say, “common denominator” everyone?
    Jay’s a wiener and the world knows it now. The sad reality is that the viewing public seems to be so stupid (apologies to viewing public) that they can’t see him for what he is.
    I wish someone would do a Jay-Walking segment on HIM when he least expects it.

  22. wow. I sure wouldn’t want you as my personal adviser. What a first class fence-sitter you are. Don’t forget – Jay’s been here and done this before.

  23. Aaron B is the best. When he smacks down someone like Leno, you know the truth. Jay is a schmuck and I will never watch him again. How many others feel this way? He is a liar and cheat. Perhaps he could go and tell jokes for the former President Bush once NBC finds someone who is funny and engaging…Sorry Jay, you suck and lie.

  24. A fence-sitter? My point is that these are two people both worthy of respect. It’s not all about taking sides and choosing who to demonize. That’s what a lot of this discussion has degenerated into. Leno and O’Brien have both handled themselves well under tough circumstances, better than most of us on the sidelines.

  25. The people who say Conan was gunning for Jay’s job are misinformed. Jay was not thrilled about handing over The Tonight Show, but he had 5 years to voice his displeasure. Instead, he admitted to Oprah, he lied.

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