Sitting through Jay's pun-tastic, sub-college-sketch-group-who-posts-videos-on-YouTube mock interview with Obama during the premiere of The Jay Leno Show last night, it was hard not to think, "Come on, Leno. After three and a half months of prep—not to mention 17 years at the helm of your own late night comedy empire—and millions of dollars, this is the best you can come up with?" But, you know, that kind of thinking really isn't fair. After all, that horrendous Obama interview bit, by itself, didn't cost millions of dollars. By my calculations, it cost $88,300—which, it goes without saying, is way too fucking much.
How did I get that (probably incorrect, knowing my math skills) estimate? UPDATE: I wasn't lying about my math skills. They do suck. Below are the corrected, even more outrageous numbers. Well, according to the NY Times, Leno's yearly salary is "probably more than $30 million" and The Jay Leno Show is "expected to cost less than $2 million a week." Assuming the show lasts a year, that's 46 weeks of shows at 5 shows per week, or 230 shows a year at a cost of about $530,000 per episode. Last night's show featured 6 segments: Monologue, unending car wash singing bit, Jerry Seinfeld interview, terminally unfunny Obama mock interview, Rihanna, Jay-Z, Kanye interview/performance, Headlines (aka Vagina Jokes I Found In The Paper). These bits obviously don't cost the same amount of money to produce, but assuming they did, each segment would cost NBC roughly $88,300.
And here's what $88,300 worth of Jay Leno's comedy looks like:
I counted 16 jokes in that piece (and I'm being generous), which means that the utterly worthless tort/tart reform joke alone cost about $5,500, or one month's rent in a large NYC apartment in a super-desireable neighborhood.
How can something so cheap cost so much? To put it in terms Leno can understand, based on his Kanye interview last night: Jay, if she saw this bit and knew how much it cost to make, what would your dead mother say? "That's cute, son. But with that kind of money maybe you should just buy a couple of nice Kias or something? At least you can drive a Kia. You can't do anything with a circus pun but groan at it."