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Jay Leno’s Return to the Tonight Show Manages to Be Even More Depressing Than Anticipated

After this great nation of ours had to endure three painful weeks sans the effervescent comedic stylings of James Douglas Muir Leno, our good pal Jay finally resumed his rightful position as the King of Late Night when he strolled onto the set of the Tonight Show this evening ready to conquer the world. (Oh, and by "set of the Tonight Show," we really mean "set of the Jay Leno Show plus a ratty desk and some haphazardly selected couches.") He began his new reign by bowling both his rapturous studio audience and millions of laugh-starved Americans over with a sepia-toned Wizard of Oz homage that starred the always hilarious quartet of Stuttering John Melendez, Ross the Intern, Kevin Eubanks, and Betty White, then quickly followed that up by energetically and enthusiastically high-fiving members of the studio audience while Eubanks and the Tonight Show Band blazed through a stirring rendition of the familiar and triumphant Tonight Show theme song. (Oh, and by "Tonight Show theme song," we really mean "the same theme music that was used during the abysmal run of the Jay Leno Show.") And hey, folks, how about that monologue!

Just in case the sarcasm in the first paragraph didn't register with you (it's late, we're all a little tired), Leno's big return to the Tonight Show throne he abdicated for all of eight months was more of a letdown than we had even anticipated. Not only was there little to no energy in the studio audience for what NBC had been billing for weeks as a "Get Back" moment, but Leno himself didn't even seem to be particularly enthused to be back hosting the show. Nor did his monologue writers, who peppered Jay's soulless return to 11:35 with tired, ninetiesearly aughts-referencing jokes about Alan Greenspan, George Bush and Dick Cheney. Even his old partner-in-crime Kevin Eubanks couldn't be bothered to muster up any of the old magic, as he failed to capitalize on Jamie Foxx's* impromptu request to sing "I Gotta Feeling" in an attempt to raise the spirits of the hundreds of bored studio attendees.

Just in case the sarcasm in the first paragraph didn't register with you (it's late, we're all a little tired), Leno's big return to the Tonight Show throne he abdicated for all of eight months was more of a letdown than we had even anticipated. Not only was there little to no energy in the studio audience for what NBC had been billing for weeks as a "Get Back" moment, but Leno himself didn't even seem to be particularly enthused to be back hosting the show. Nor did his monologue writers, who peppered Jay's soulless return to 11:35 with tired, ninetiesearly aughts-referencing jokes about Alan Greenspan, George Bush and Dick Cheney. Even his old partner-in-crime Kevin Eubanks couldn't be bothered to muster up any of the old magic, as he failed to capitalize on Jamie Foxx's* impromptu request to sing "I Gotta Feeling" in an attempt to raise the spirits of the hundreds of bored studio attendees.

*We sincerely hope that Foxx was hopped up on goofballs tonight. Otherwise, we have grave concerns for his well-being.

Photo: Courtesy of NBC