[b]Leno should retire now[/b] Deseret News (Salt Lake City), Jun 22, 2005 by Scott D. Pierce Deseret Morning News A month ago, I would not have thought it possible that my respect for Jay Leno could drop any lower. I was wrong. His behavior during the Michael Jackson trial clearly indicates this guy doesn’t have a clue about what’s appropriate, what’s important, what’s funny and where to draw the line when making jokes. You could argue that a lot of Leno’s jokes during the trial pushed past the line of good taste. (You could argue that about a lot of the material in Leno’s monologues — there’s nothing he can’t turn into a dirty joke.) And, in his defense, you could argue that Leno was doing what all the other late-night hosts and myriad comedians were doing. But Leno was called as a witness at that trial. And, in addition to making jokes during his testimony, as he left the stand he plugged that day’s “Tonight Show,” telling the judge, jurors, attorneys and gallery that Renee Zellwegger was his scheduled guest. Excuse me, but this was a trial, not another comedy venue. A trial about child molestation, for that matter. At the time, Leno had no idea what the outcome of the trial would be, but this was something a lot more serious than his little talk show. Not that he could grasp that concept, apparently. It was bad enough that he went straight from testifying to telling more Michael Jackson jokes. (And when, exactly, did child molestation charges become funny?) But Leno reached his nadir last Friday when he had Jackson’s defense attorney, Thomas Mesereau, as a guest on his show and proceeded to yuck it up. Once again, this was a trial about child molestation. Whether or not you agree with the not-guilty verdict, that fact remains. Even if you believe in Jackson’s innocence, the trial was a deadly serious matter. And Leno, who’s never learned to conduct a decent interview, was out of his league as Mesereau used the “Tonight Show’s” bully pulpit to attack prosecutors. Johnny Carson, Jack Paar and Steve Allen must have been rolling in their graves. It’s not like Leno’s lack of judgment is anything new. Remember the “Dancing Itos” during the O.J. Simpson trial? A trial about a pair of almost indescribably vicious murders? All of this makes me really anxious to watch “The Tonight Show” again — when Conan O’Brien takes over as host in 2009. If Leno can’t somehow get a clue and recognize there’s a world around him that consists of more than his next one-liners, he ought to retire now. It’s already too late for him to hand over the legacy of “The Tonight Show” unsullied. Source: http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4188/is_20050622/ai_n14677488

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