I've known Jay Leno forever—at least it certainly seems like forever! True, I've never met him but he just feels like a friend. We have so many things in common. For example: I think mistakes in the newspaper are hilarious too! Also, if someone gave me five hours of primetime television, I would have no idea what do to with it either. I'd probably just say, "Hey, why don't we draw a target right here on the ground with a 10 in the middle, cause the show's on at ten, you know?" Then, exhausted from that brainstorm, I'd go home and rest till the show's premiere. Well, Jay didn't even go home and rest! He is an American hero. A relatable American hero.
My kids love Jay too. In fact, they adore him. I think it's because he dresses like the guys that work at the pumpkin patch we go to every Halloween. Also they love 10@10, because they're small children who don't know any better.
So when my little dude, Charlemagne, saw Jay sit down at his desk last night, he was concerned. "Mommy, why's Uncle Jay making serious faces at his desk? What'd he do?"
The presumption was that if there's seriousness stretched across your mug, and you're sitting at a desk not reading funny newspaper mistakes, you're in trouble.
"He didn't do anything, my dearest darling Charlemagne," I said. "Well, not unless NBC tells him to because then Jay Leno, as an employee of NBC, is powerless to refuse."
And suddenly I found myself in the looney-tunes, zanytimes position of having to explain the wah-wah, [insert slide-whistle sound effect] politics of the entertainment industry, honk honk, to an imaginary 9-year-old named after the best Holy Roman Emperor ever.
"Well, see, when you sign up to be an employee of a company, like say NBC, that company owns you. They tell you what to wear, what to eat, what time slot to occupy. They make all the decisions for you—which is kind of a relief because who wants to make decisions for themselves anyway? Employees, like Jay, are like big helpless babies, and employers, like NBC, are like mommies. Babies have to do to what mommies say, right? Babies have no choice. Because they're babies."
"I guess. But what if you don't want to do what the company says, like Uncle Jay is talking about?"
"Silly little Charlemagne. You always want to do what the company says."
"Always. See if Uncle Jay had told NBC, 'I don't want to do a primetime show. I don't think that's going to work.' He would have had to leave the network…And figure out how to do something on his own, and we both know Uncle Jay isn't much of a figurerer. Also, he wouldn't get any more money from NBC."
"But Uncle Jay has piles of money already, right, Mommy? Like Scrooge McDuck?"
"Yes, but he wanted more."
"To buy more cars. That's a good lesson for you to take away from all this, Charlemagne: You can never have too much money or too many cars. Also, always obey your employer, no matter what they ask of you."
"Okay, Mommy. But what I really don't get about this whole thing is why Uncle Jay doesn't do the 10@10 segment at 10:10pm? Wouldn't that make slightly more sense?"
"Go to your room."
"What did we just learn, Charlemagne? You always have to obey your employer and employers are like moms. Now be a good Jay Leno and Go. To. Your. Room."