A Teachable Leno Moment

I've known Jay Leno forever. Our wives are friends and he knows my children. This week, I found myself in the absurd position of trying to explain the politics of the entertainment industry to my nine-year-old.
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I've known Jay Leno since forever. Our wives are friends. He knows my children -- and they both adore him.

So when my little guy saw all the TV-hub-bub this week, he was concerned. "Why are there all these pictures of Jay in the paper? What'd he do?"

The presumption was that if your mug is in the paper, you're probably in trouble.

I said. "He didn't do anything. They're just talking about maybe moving the time of his show again."


And suddenly I was in the absurd position of trying to explain the politics of the entertainment industry to a nine-year old.

"Um, because the show used to be on at a different time, and now not as many people are watching it, so they wanna maybe move it back to where it used to be."

"But why'd they move it in the first place?"

Good question.

"Well, the television company was trying something. They thought all the people who love watching Jay would maybe like to watch the show an hour and half earlier."

"And did they?"


"Why not? It's still Jay, right?"

"Yeah, but it's like lunch. If someone said 'Instead of 12:30 would you mind eating at quarter to 10?' -- you might not want to, right?"

"Cause you're not hungry yet."

"Exactly. Sometimes, people like keeping things the way they're used to."

This seemed to make sense.

"So can they just put Jay's show back where it used to be?

"Well, they may, but it's a little tricky because there's another really funny guy who has a show where Jay used to be, and they promised him he could have a show there too."

"What's gonna happen to him?"

"Not sure. Either he'll do his show at a different time, or... if he doesn't want to play anymore, they're gonna give him a lot of money -- sort of to say, 'Sorry we messed you up.'"

"How much money are they gonna give him?"

"A lot."

"Like how much?"

"Forty million dollars."

"Wow! I want that job!"

"What would you do with $40 million?

"Buy video games and Bakugan and junk food."

"Forty million dollars worth?

"And some Dr. Pepper."

"Well, maybe someday you can get that job. But first you have to be that funny and that good."

I watched my little genius try to get his hands around the whole thing.

"So... they want to put Jay back where he was because they like what he does."


"It's not like Jay failed?"

"No, not at all."

"He was actually helping them out."

"That's right."

And -- here I felt the need to editorialize.

"You know, the extra amazing thing about Jay is -- whenever they ask him to try something, he almost always says 'Sure.' They asked him to step down and make room for the other funny guy, he said, 'Sure.'

They asked him to put his show on earlier at night and he said, 'Sure.' Then they said, 'Oh, boy, I think we made a mistake -- would you mind going back to where we had you in the first place? That would really help us.' And you know what he says? 'Sure.'"


"Yeah. And how about the fact that while all this craziness is going on, Jay just shows up to work every day and does his job. He doesn't complain, he doesn't get upset... He just does what he's supposed to do: he makes people laugh. That's not easy, you know."

He thought about it.

"Jay's a really good guy, huh?"

"Yes he is. "

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