02.17.10 8 years ago 22 Comments

Pictured: Jay Leno, Kevin Eubanks, and the post-apocalyptic dystopia of NBC’s 10 o’clock programming.

Sad news for the people out there, somewhere, wherever they may be, who are actually looking forward to the return of Jay Leno’s imitation comedy gruel at NBC’s 11:35 time slot: longtime band leader/one-man laugh track Kevin Eubanks will be leaving the show.

Mr. Eubanks has been a member of the band as its lead guitarist since the start of Mr. Leno’s run on “Tonight” in 1992. He took over as the band leader when Branford Marsalis left that job in 1995.

He has been a frequent player in comedy sketches on the show and often interacts with Mr. Leno during jokes in the opening monologue. [NYT]

In this case, “often interacts” = “laughs on command.”

Anyway, it was rumored that Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish would replace Eubanks, but Rucker’s reps have already denied it. Which is too bad. There would have been some kind of cosmic beauty of a show with Hootie and the Blowfish as the house band leading into a show with the Roots as the house band. It would be like a concert co-headlined by the Rolling Stones and Mott the Hoople. That joke’s for the old people.

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