When he curls up inside the trunk of one of his many vintage Cadillacs each night, the night wind softly blowing through the old airplane hangar he uses as a garage and lulling him to sleep, soon-to-be former Tonight Show host Jay Leno has one thought lazing around in his head: "How can I make NBC regret their decision to give my show to Conan? How can I show them the unique brand of Leno comedy they'll be missing?"
Then last week when Jimmy Kimmel posed as a reporter at a press conference with ABC executives, jokingly asking them about his show's fate and the possibility of Leno moving to ABC, it was like Leno was hit with a lightning bolt of pure inspiration. "I'll do the exact same thing that Kimmel did!" Leno thought, searching for the fake goatee he keeps in the glove compartment of his 1961 Aston Martin, "It was funny when he did it. Just wait till those NBC executives see my hilarious 'homage' to a bit Jimmy Kimmel did a week ago. That'll show them!"
From the NY Times:
Taking a page from Jimmy Kimmel, who showed up as a fake reporter at an ABC news conference last week to inquire about how avidly his network was going to pursue Mr. Leno once he was free from his NBC contact, Mr. Leno put on a bald cap, fake goatee (which only partly disguised his famous chin) and glasses and easily slid among the real reporters to ask the two NBC executives about his own future.
"When is Leno's last show?" the unnamed reporter asked.
Mr. Graboff then broke the real news that Mr. Leno's last night on "The "Tonight Show" would be May 29, 2009, a Friday, with Conan O'Brien taking over the show on the following Monday, June 1.
"Will Leno be paid for the rest of the year?" the fake reporter inquired, perhaps really wanting to know that answer. It was "Of course."
Gold! The goatee, the bald cap, the "Will he get paid?" all of it gold! It's like Leno took Kimmel's idea and really made it Leno's own by doing the exact same thing but in a different costume. According to this transcript of the Leno-does-Kimmel's-fake-reporter-bit, Leno really pushed the NBC executives to regret with this zinger:
LENO: I know you brought back KNIGHT RIDER. Any chance MANIMAL will be coming back?
SILVERMAN: We're negotiating for AIR WOLF and MANIMAL's original creator will not share the rights with us.
LENO: Alright. Thank you.
Ha! Manimal is a funny word, Jay, as well as a comically absurd show for any network to resurrect—any network except NBC, that is. For them, it's entirely plausible. Once they brought back American Gladiators, and aired Celebrity Circus, comic exaggeration about NBC's programming choices became virtually impossible.
Still, I'm sure they're missing you already!