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03.02.10

5 Funniest Moments from Leno's Tonight Show Return

It was back to basics for Jay Leno: jokes, a desk, a country singer, and an awkward interview. Watch the five funniest moments—not all intentional—from his return on Monday night.

A Cold Open That Actually Works

Remember the first comedy sketch from Leno’s last gig? It involved Jay, Kevin, a picnic and the uncomfortable feeling that this 10 p.m. thing might not work out. In Leno’s return to The Tonight Show, things get off to a much better start: a send-up of The Wizard of Oz and Leno’s own problems in primetime, plus an appearance by Betty White.

Leno Mocks Letterman, NBC

This sort of thing was more fun to watch at the height of the late-night wars in January, but Leno did a decent job of taking minor shots at David Letterman and NBC, thankfully leaving the Letterman’s wife out of it.

Leno Acknowledges Nation’s Discomfort with His Socks

The piling on against Leno during his primetime run really was a bit much at times, but there’s one criticism that never went too far: that Leno, for reasons difficult to explain, is far more appealing when doing an interview behind a desk. In this sketch—which will not rank up there with “The Dancing Itos” but was still decent—Leno takes the viewer on a quest to find, finally, a desk.

Sycophantic Jamie Foxx Fails to Move the Crowd

You know who’s really happy Leno is back on at 11:35 p.m.? Jamie Foxx. You know who doesn’t want to stand up and scream about it? The audience, when led by Foxx, who spent most of his first segment as cheerleader.

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Leno Gets Raunchy, Uses Prop to Recover

Leno has never pretended to be Dick Cavett or Johnny Carson when it comes to the art of the interview. But neither, till this moment, had he pretended to be Howard Stern. In an otherwise amiable exchange with Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn, Leno makes a quip about the role of Vonn’s husband in the boudoir that was uncomfortably risqué (for Leno), but used a Photoshoped Sports Illustrated to recover.

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