The premiere of “The Jay Leno Show” was pretty much what you’d expect if you ever watched Leno’s “Tonight Show.”
He played it safe, sticking to familiar features like the opening monologue and funny headlines.
Leno’s debut outing was boosted immeasurably by the appearance of Kanye West, a day after his much-talked-about rude behavior at MTV’s Video Music Awards. I wanted to see how West acted and said to counter the criticism he’s receiving. I’m sure I wasn’t alone.
Leno pulled a Barbara Walters interview move by almost getting Kanye to tear up by asking what his late mother would have thought of his behavior at the VMAs. Good question, Jay.
Jerry Seinfeld was a good first guest, at one point questioning what Leno’s show was all about. Jay Z and Rhianna provided star power as the show’s first musical guests.
Overall, I’d give the premiere a B- grade. Except for the Kanye West interview, it was overly scripted to avoid mistakes and run smoothly. The comedy was hit and miss, as expected.
As the NBC show settles in, I hope Leno becomes more spontaneous and takes more chances.
Edgy humor is always welcome, such as the dark promo video where Jay and comic Fred Armisen cover up a car accident where they think someone died.