Jay Leno Calls Out Publicists

For what NOT to do in PR, let's go 'Jaywalking.'

The Tonight Show has arguably never been better now that Jimmy Fallon has taken over and added golden segments, such as Thank You Notes, True Confessions, Box of Lies, Slapjacks, and of course, the noted Lip Syncing Battle.

However, Jay Leno had a pretty good run (for two decades) following the legendary Johnny Carson handing him the torch in 1992. Leno, notorious for his stand-up schedule throughout the year while hosting, has been doing much of nothing besides admiring his famous car collection.

Ogling long enough at the classics sitting in his 130-car garage while wiping them clean with a diaper, Leno has decided to get back into the swing of things with a new CNBC show called (what else) Jay Leno’s Garage.

While perched atop his prestigious seat at NBC, Leno encountered plenty of folks in the PR field. Of course, the kind he was forced to deal with were mostly publicists, who consider saying “I have this reality ‘star’ or that B-lister” to be real work and serious pitching.

Our own Jason Lynch of the Mothership (that’s Adweek to everyone else) interviewed Leno—and wrote a really nice article, if he was your thing in late night —about his new show, and in the conversation, he had a thing or two to say about those publicists:

Jay Leno
CHRIS PIZZELLO/AP PHOTO
Credit:

What do you miss most and least from your time on The Tonight Show?
Doing the monologue every day was great fun. That was 80 percent of my day—writing the jokes. I don’t miss a lot of publicists. My favorite one we had was some ice-skater who had won some gold medals, and then 10 years later, she’s in Playboy. And the publicist pitched it, all right, second guest.

She comes and the publicist pulled me aside: “We’re not discussing the Playboy issue.” I’ve never said this before, but I said, “Why don’t you take your client and go home. She’s only here because she took her clothes off in a magazine after winning gold.”

I mean, I’m not going to insult her. I’m not going to make her feel cheap. But if you don’t want to discuss it, I can get a comic here in six minutes.

If you are not familiar with the true difference between PR professionals and a publicist (well, most of them), we have a few theories to share from the PRNewserverse. Suffice to say, we disagree with Jay.

That would have taken, at the most, 2.5 minutes. Tops.