Update below: Jay Leno's "Jaywalking" routine features man- and woman-on-the-street interviews with alleged morons -- but one recent clip makes him look like a bigger dope than the woman he portrays as a brainless chump. That's because her reference to Amelia Earhart as a 9News personality is almost, if not quite, accurate -- and he has no clue.
Granted, her guess that if February was Black History Month, March must be White History Month doesn't qualify her as a genius. In this country, every month is White History Month. But when Leno asks her to identify Amelia Earhart, she references not the famous pilot portrayed in a famously unwatchable Hilary Swank movie, but a personality from 9News in Denver. Which happens to be true. She's the outlet's on-air traffic reporter.
Granted, the woman tells Leno that Earhart delivers the weather at the station, not road information, prompting an allegedly wacky graphic featuring the other Amelia chipping in with forecast details. But even funnier is the idea that Leno's staffers went to the trouble of producing this material without first Googling the woman's oddly specific answer -- or remembering that the still-breathing Earhart actually worked for a time in California, where Leno's Tonight Show is based. Had they done so, they might have avoided making their boss look like as big a buffoon as the people he typically interviews.
Check out the clip below:
Update, 10:12 a.m.: Just spoke to 9News' Amelia Earhart, and in some ways, it turns out, The Tonight Show's use of the bit seen above is even more inexplicable than we thought.
How so? A producer phoned Earhart yesterday prior to the program to let her know the clip would appear -- so obviously someone on Leno's staff knew she was a real person and the young Jaywalker was at least partially correct. Yet no reference was made to this fact on the program, suggesting that Leno and company didn't want to spoil this supposedly hilarious routine by admitting the truth.
Not that Earhart's upset. Far from it. "I just think it's funny," she says. "People make fun of my name all the time, but I never thought Jay Leno would make fun of my name."
As a bonus, 9News personnel were able to track down the woman on the show, a high school senior named Michelle. She made not one but two appearances on the station's morning program today. She told local viewers she knew who the aviatrix Amelia Earhart was, but she thought of the broadcaster first. Earhart found her to be "pretty quick on her feet."
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In regard to The Tonight Show's decision to air the clip without referencing her, the local Earhart says, "It was bound to get out in Denver. It's been all over my Facebook and Twitter page. But as far as Jay Leno actually knowing I'm a real traffic reporter, I'm not sure that will ever happen."
If however, Leno decides to come clean by inviting her to appear on his program, would she consider it? "Are you kidding? Of course," she says.
That puts the ball's in Leno's court. Wonder if he's smart enough to do anything with it.
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