Friday, May 29, 2009
Good night, Jay Leno
You know, I don't mean this to sound like a dig at Jay Leno, who I've appreciated as a very funny guy ever since the days when I covered him in Houston comedy clubs during the early 1980s. (Of course, I've always been more of a David Letterman fan, but never mind.) But while watching his farewell Tonight Show after 17 years on the air, I couldn't help feeling... well, not immensely moved. And I certainly don't think of his leaving as anywhere near the epochal pop culture event that Johnny Carson's departure was. Sure, I know: Carson was on for 30 years, and had a great deal more time to evolve into an icon. But I also wonder if, because there are so many more viewing choices now, no one will ever again have the stature of a Johnny Carson in our collective pop culture consciousness. Come to think of it, as we proceed apace in the Age of Media Demassification, I don't think Conan O'Brien will ever have a stature equal to Jay's. That's the just the way is now. I'm not saying that's tragic. But in a way, I think it's a little sad that, the more options we have from which to choose, the fewer things we have that bring us together.