Tomorrow night is Jay Leno’s last show on The Tonight Show, and though I understand that ratings are higher this past week, the (second) end of this era does feel a little underwhelming, doesn’t it? The last time around, it felt like it sucked up half the oxygen in the pop-culture universe, but now? “Eh, Jay Leno’s leaving. Cool. See you around.” Maybe it’s because we’re more focused on Jimmy Fallon replacing him, and Seth Meyers replacing Fallon. Or maybe it’s because no one expects Leno to stay gone for long.
Anyway, the departure will end his 22-year run (with a year-long interruption) as host of The Tonight Show, and over the course of those two decades, the Center for Media and Public Affairs has counted the targets of all of Jay Leno’s jokes, which sounds like a terrible job that they should give to people in prisons who are too weak to bang out license plates. Unsurprisingly, most of his top targets over that period were politicians, including his top target, Bill Clinton, who was the target of Leno’s jokes 4,607 times.
Anyway, here’s the full list of his top targets, and I’m only surprised that Charlie Sheen is not on it:
1. Bill Clinton — 4,607 jokes.
2. George W. Bush — 3,239 jokes.
3. Al Gore — 1,026 jokes.
4. Barack Obama — 1,011 jokes.
5. Hillary Clinton — 939 jokes.
6. O.J. Simpson — 795 jokes.
7. Dick Cheney — 673 jokes.
8. Michael Jackson — 505 jokes.
9. Monica Lewinsky — 454 jokes.
10. Bob Dole — 452 jokes.
Here’s a typical Clinton joke: “Clinton’s book could be close to 700 pages. What is this? Even Clinton’s books are fat.”
Here’s a typical reaction: