Jay Leno (b. 1950) is a stand-up comedian who hosted The Tonight Show on NBC from 1992 to 2009, moved to The Jay Leno Show from 2009 to 2010, and returned to The Tonight Show from 2010 until 2014. He has interviewed the Muppets several times on the show, and also made appearances on Sesame Street, Muppets Tonight and The Muppets.
In 1987, Leno appeared on Sesame Street in sketches with Big Bird. In one sketch, Big Bird is disappointed when he gets a phone call from "Johnny", telling him that he can't come over and play a game. Leno offers to help: "I love sitting in for Johnny!" Leno fills Johnny's chair, and Big Bird plays "One of These Things". Leno gets the correct answer, and Big Bird is pleased: "You know? He really was good at sitting in for Johnny!" (This clip was included in the 1994 TV special Sesame Street All-Star 25th Birthday: Stars and Street Forever!)
The Tonight Show
In June 1996, Miss Piggy appeared to promote In the Kitchen with Miss Piggy, leading to some very flirtatious talk -- at one point, Piggy asked if Leno had "a problem with intimacy", and then offered: "Would you like to touch me? Go ahead! Anywhere you'd like!" When Kermit made an appearance on the show in November, he admitted that he was "a little miffed... I mean, if you choose to have Miss Piggy on the show, and flirt with her outrageously, why should that bother me? I know, if Kevin Eubanks wants to keep calling her and asking her out, why should that bother me, y'know?... Piggy can be that way."
Piggy returned to the show on New Year's Eve 1996, to report live from the roof of the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square as the ball dropped to ring in the new year. She spent the evening complaining about the rooftop being cold and the partying crowd being too noisy. When Leno asked her what she would normally be doing on New Year's Eve, Piggy said, "Well, usually, I have a romantic candlelight dinner for two with Kermie. But this year, my agent Bernie decided I should spend New Year's Eve on top of a freezing building with three teamsters named Vinnie!"
Piggy returned to the show on August 31, 2011 in the cold opening, complaining how Animal and OK Go were performing tonight and she was not invited on the show to promote The Muppets. Leno tries to make up with her by inviting Piggy to sit on his desk. Piggy thinks she is going to host the Tonight Show and gets excited until she finds out that the desk is in Leno's office. In the backstage web video of The Tonight Show during the Muppets' appearance, Bryan Branly apologies to Piggy for not inviting her, but Piggy refuse to leave without hosting the show.
In 1996, Leno and Tonight Show bandleader Kevin Eubanks appeared in episode 208 of Muppets Tonight. In the episode, Bobo the Bear has accidentally killed the show's guest star, Arsenio Hall, and is looking around for another celebrity to fill in. Leno volunteers to star, but Bobo doesn't recognize him.
The Muppets (2015)
Fozzie Bear attends Leno's house party in The Muppets episode "Hostile Makeover". In a nervous fit, he steals a candy dish from Leno's house, attempting to return it later after being unable to deal with the guilt. Before he can undo his deed, the dish breaks on Leno's driveway. Leno plans on inviting him to be his opening comedy act, but rescinds the offer after catching him trying to steal another item.
- ↑ Hellman, Peter. "Sesame Street Smart: How Big Bird & Co. Do It", New York Magazine. November 23, 1987.