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Jay Leno gets ‘em laughin’

The Story

"There is no one who does not identify with you," Peter Gzowski tells Jay Leno in this 1978 interview on 90 Minutes Live. The 28-year-old Leno is already a successful standup comedian, working as many as 300 nights a year entertaining audiences with his unique observations on everyday life. By the late 1970s, the man with the trademark large chin has gone from doing commercials for tortilla chips to opening for Tom Jones, John Denver and Johnny Mathis. But he is still 14 years away from becoming permanent host of The Tonight Show. In this clip, a laid back Leno tells a funny story about what happened when co-ed dormitories were first implemented in Boston-area universities.

Medium: Television
Program: 90 Minutes Live
Broadcast Date: Jan. 20, 1978
Guest(s): Jay Leno
Host: Peter Gzowski
Duration: 3:15

Did You know?

• After Leno took over The Tonight Show hosting duties from Johnny Carson in 1992, he consistently lost in the ratings to chief rival David Letterman, who had also been considered as Carson's replacement. Leno did beat Letterman for the talk show Emmy in 1995. By 1996, Leno actually surged ahead of Letterman in the ratings, and stayed there. • Leno and his wife Mavis have been married since 1980 and have no children. They met while he was performing at a comedy club in Los Angeles. In 1982, they were contestants on the couples game show Tattletales.


•Leno maintains dozens of classic cars and motorcycles. When he was just 14, he restored his very first vehicle, a 1934 Ford V-8 truck. Two of his motorcycles were featured in the movie Batman and Robin.Leno was born in New Rochelle, N.Y. and grew up in Andover, Mass. His father was Italian and his mother Scottish.


• As a child, Leno had dyslexia, and also fell down the stairs, requiring his ripped spleen to be removed.


• His fifth grade teacher wrote on his report card, "If Jay spent as much time studying as he does trying to be a comedian, he'd be a big star."


• Leno dropped out of Bentley College in Waltham, Mass. after only one semester. But he graduated from Emerson College in Boston in 1972.


• Along with Letterman, he was a writer on the 1970s comedy series Good Times. Leno has appeared in over 150 TV shows and films, most often as himself. He has also been the voice of several animated characters, in film such as Cars and Igor.



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