Jay Leno Wins Awards, Apparently Still Has Some Fans

Jay Leno

Source: NBC

Jay Leno, formerly America’s favorite funnyman before he took on the beloved Conan O’Brien, is receiving the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. By now a big-chinned relic of the baby boomers, Leno hasn’t had a hit on his hands in years. After the debacle of his usurpation from The Tonight Show and his subsequent usurping his successor, Conan, from the show, Leno has dwindled in popularity among that vital 18-49 demographic. The two Jimmies–as in Fallon and Kimmel–have taken up the mantle once held by Leno and Letterman, while Conan continues to have his own niche corner of the world all to himself.

Leno is the seventeenth person to win the Twain prize, created in 1998 to celebrate a living American humorist.

“What an honor!” Leno said in a statement. “I’m a big fan of Mark Twain’s. In fact, ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ is one of my favorite books!”

Leno was the subject of a recent book by Dave Berg, the former producer of The Tonight Show, titled Behind the Curtain, An Insider’s View of Jay Leno’s Tonight Show. The book is suffused with lush details about Leno, according to a Huffington Post review.

Jay Leno’s number one joke target, according to a study done in February (who on earth thinks of doing a study on Jay Leno?), is Bill Clinton. Splitting the jokes into political and non-political, the study listed Leno’s favorite targets thusly:


  1. Bill Clinton 4607
  2. George W. Bush 3239
  3. Al Gore 1026
  4. Barack Obama 1011
  5. Hillary Clinton 939
  6. Dick Cheney 673
  7. Monica Lewinsky 454
  8. Bob Dole 452
  9. John McCain 426
  10. Mitt Romney 361
  11. John Kerry 357
  12. George H.W. Bush 343
  13. Newt Gingrich 328
  14. Sarah Palin 300
  15. Ross Perot 288
  16. Arnold Schwarzenegger 288
  17. Joe Biden 274
  18. Dan Quayle 260
  19. John Edwards 229
  20. Osama Bin Laden 216

Top Twenty Celebrity Joke Targets

  1. O.J. Simpson 795
  2. Michael Jackson 505
  3. Martha Stewart 208
  4. Paris Hilton 153
  5. Lindsay Lohan 153
  6. Robert Blake 121
  7. Anna Nicole Smith 55
  8. Roger Clemens 50
  9. Tonya Harding 49
  10. Alex Rodriguez 49
  11. Heidi Fleiss 48
  12. Charlie Sheen 48
  13. Lance Armstrong 47
  14. Michael Vick 47
  15. Madonna 46
  16. Justin Bieber 44
  17. Brittany Spears 42
  18. Kobe Bryant 38
  19. Chris Brown 38
  20. Kim Kardashian 37

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