Leno clearly wins one contest

In Hollywood, Jay Leno is fighting to get back on late-night TV. In Las Vegas, he’s looking for more fans to fill seats during this weekend’s stand-up gig at The Mirage.

On Thursday, The Mirage’s Web site was offering a 50 percent discount on tickets for Leno’s Saturday show in the Terry Fator Theatre ($92-$114). He was originally supposed to perform tonight too, but that show was canceled weeks ago, as Norm Clarke reported this week.

By comparison, there are no half-price offers, at the moment, for Mirage shows slated in coming weeks by comedians Ron White and Jon Stewart.

Then again, demand could be lower for Leno merely because he performs here so often.

Meanwhile, Leno’s prime-time show is getting axed. He wants to reclaim his old 11:35 p.m. time slot; Conan O’Brien is ridiculing Leno on-air for that; NBC execs are on Leno’s side for now; and O’Brien’s fan base is planning protests.

I don’t have a dog in that fight. But I will say this: I’ve interviewed Conan and Jay quite a few times, and Jay is nice, and Conan is a stinkwad.

I interviewed Conan after an NBC event in L.A. a few years ago. At first, a handful of us reporters were amiably chatting him up. He treated us like garbage.

Afterward, I turned to a reporter from New York and said, “Why is Conan being such a tool?” She looked at me incredulously and goes, “It’s Conan. He’s always a tool.”

A few minutes later, I interviewed him one-on-one, and again he was a scowling jackass despite the fact I was nicely asking softball questions about his early days in Chicago.

Then I saw him interacting with NBC staffers in a room I wasn’t supposed to be in, and he was curt and semi-nasty to them.

A year later, I interviewed him again. Same crabby Conan, no matter that I’d never written a negative thing about him (until now).

By contrast, Jay is one of the friendliest, most pleasant interviews in show business. I’m not alone with this observation. And plenty of comedians, from Adam Carolla to Bobby Slayton, talk about how generous and kind Jay has been to them over the years.

So everyone else can choose sides in the Jay-Conan throwdown based on allegiances, or whichever guy they think is more entertaining. But as far as I’m concerned, if Conan loses, it’ll be rawhide for a jackass.


Joe Frazier hosts a film showing of “Thrilla in Manila” at 8 p.m. today at Emeril Lagasse‘s Stadium at the Palazzo. It’s $65 for a three-course meal; $40 for the meet-and-greet plus autographed boxing gloves.

Doug Elfman’s column appears Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. E-mail him at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.

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