Alexis Garcia on Jay Leno and the Politics of Late Night Television


When Leno debuted as the host of The Tonight Show in 1992, he quickly acted to differentiate himself from the legendary Johnny Carson and establish his own brand of late-night talk. One of the ways in which he accomplished this was to focus on political news and humor. Leno's focus on politics and his everyman persona earned him the top spot in the Nielsen ratings for almost two decades. But despite his popular success, notes Alexis Garcia, TV critics never warmed to Leno and criticized him for his milquetoast humor.