Have you seen The Jay Leno Show's 10 @ 10 segment? Oh, it's fantastic. Some of the finest anti-comedy you'll ever witness. True, it's completely unintentional anti-comedy but nothing is perfect. See, Leno invites a celebrity or Kate Gosselin to appear on a massive video screen, then asks them a series of ten uninteresting, utterly banal questions. It lasts an eternity. While watching this segment, the very air around you thickens until it feels like you're slowly suffocating in a vat of viscous awkwardness. It is excruciating. Standing before the massive video screen, Leno casually shifts from foot to foot, shuffling his question cards. "God," you think, "Why isn't Leno drowning like the rest of us?" Then you remember that Leno's lungs were replaced seven years ago with a sturdy AC unit salvaged from an antique Oldsmobile '78, and that he's barely human. Finally, at least a full minute after you've given up all hope of the segment ending, Leno mercifully throws to commercial, and the first ad cracks the hardened, twisted shell of awkwardness like the jaws of life.
In short: good times.
Well, last night Jimmy Kimmel appeared on Leno's 10@10 segment and managed to make the whole thing even more awkward. Yes, even more awkward than the time that Leno asked Tom Cruise "Have you ever been to a strip club?"
Was this Leno's way of trying to put Kimmel in his place following Kimmel's audition for the part of Jay Leno in The Late Shift 2 on Tuesday? Or did Leno think that having Kimmel on would show that Leno is in on the joke? Or, maybe, did Leno assume that Kimmel would sieze the opportunity to eviscerate Leno to his face, thereby making public sympathy sway toward Leno? We could probably speculate for entire minutes about what Leno's plan here was, but the simplest answer is usually the correct one: Leno obviously forgot to drink his morning cup of Penzoil yesterday, and his cylinders weren't running at optimum efficiency.
Whatever Leno's strategy, it backfired because Kimmel was clearly the funnier of the two (and, really, how often does that happen?). Leno ended up looking like a petulant control freak who had lost the battle that he himself arranged. In other words: Classic 10 @10!