The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 9, 1996 · Page 17
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 17

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Salina, Kansas
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Wednesday, October 9, 1996
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Page 17
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2 WEDNESDAY. OCTOBER 9 1996 APPLAUSE THE SALINA JOURNAj LENO'S LONG 'TONIGHT SHOW HAUL By KEITH MARDER c.l 996 Los Angeles Daily News LOS ANGELES — Jay Leno arrives at NBC's Burbank studio around 8:30 every weekday morning. He builds up to the taping of "The Tonight Show" at 5 p.m., then he stays to tape a few bits for future shows. That puts his day in the office at about 14 hours. But, wait, there's more. At 11 p.m., Leno is at his Beverly Hills home with writer Jimmy Brogan working on the next day's monologue. And, to relax on the weekends, Leno hits the road to continue honing the stand-up act that made him famous. Work. Work. Work. It's an incredible pace that Leno has kept up for almost five years. Yes, it's been almost five years (man, you're getting old) since Leno took over "The Tonight Show" from the king of late night, Johnny Carson. These days, the days are even longer for Leno, who is promoting a new book titled "Leading With My Chin" (Harper Collins; $22), for which he reportedly got a $4 million advance. But if he has not found much leisure in his life, Leno is getting a payoff. He won an Emmy in 1994, and he has won the weekly ratings war with CBS rival David Letterman since Aug. 21, 1995. And if, as he approaches his five-year anniversary, he hasn't achieved the dominance of Johnny, he professes to have found a level of comfort in his late-night role. "I like doing this better and better every year," Leno said. "It's like in high school, in your senior year, you finally figure everything out." The new book, written with Bill Zehme, a senior writer at Esquire, is not to be confused with an autobiography. It is a collection of amusing tales and mishaps on the road from a man who, in the heart of his stand-up days, logged a million air miles one year. The hardcover does not mention any of the battles Leno went through to get "The Tonight Show" job or his struggles to keep it in the early days of the rivalry, when Letterman's "Late Show" dominated. Leno's ex-manager, the late Helen Kushnick, who he fired shortly after she got him the NBC job in '92, also didn't get a mention. "She wasn't mentioned, and neither was my agent," Leno said. "I was traveling so much I would call in and find out where I was going next. There were not many funny stories with them. The book was originally going to be called 'Road Stories,' everything up to The Tonight Show.'" Those were the days when Leno had a listed phone number, which he kept until he became "The Tonight Show's" permanent host. He is known as a "nice guy," one whose apartment in Boston turned into a flophouse for traveling comedians early in his career. He said guys would come to his pad (hey, it was the '70s) and introduce themselves as joke tellers just to have a place to stay. Comic Larry Miller, a Sherman Oaks resident, friend and fellow comic who is on the ABC sitcom "Life's Work" and who used to work the clubs with Leno, said his friend Jerry Seinfeld may be the hardest- working man in Hollywood — executive producer, head writer and star of his own series — but he has no doubt about who's second. "No one ever worked harder than Jay. What he does is monumental — nine new minutes every night. It's staggering," Miller said. "He was always, always a great comedian. Anyone who invests affection in Jay will never, ever be disappointed or hurt by it and receive a great deal in return for it. He's the funniest, finest, hardest-working guy I ever knew." Without much fanfare, Leno donates tons of money to charities. For instance, all of the proceeds from his four wacky "Headlines" books and one called "Police Blotter" went to children's charities, including one that provides pediatric AIDS services. His reputation as the best stand-up comic out of a stellar class including Letterman, Seinfeld, Paul Reiser, Billy Crystal, Freddie Prinze, Steve Martin, Andy Kaufman and Miller is nearly universal. "He's a great stand-up comedian," said "Arli$$" star Robert Wuhl, who then repeated himself to make sure — "a great stand-up comedian." Leno said that when things were going poorly in the early "Tonight Show" days, he kept his stand-up comedy to fall back on if Letterman replaced him — and it's the reason he continues to work the road. "I do it every weekend," Leno said. "I work out my material. I've got to keep the act going. That's who I am — a comedian. That's how I work out. Some people go to the gym." It appears as if stand-up will be only a weekend job for a while longer. Leno is signed until the year 2000. With 35 cars and 40 motorcycles, it seems Leno's toughest daily decision is what to drive. Leno, who ordered a blue hardtop Viper with white racing stripes even before Dodge distributed them, is expepted to be the first kid on his block to own one of the new 1997 Jaguar XK8s coming out today. Warming up before shows, Leno gets the crowd going by letting audience members ask him questions, then inviting people on stage for a quick Polaroid. He revised his set in '94 to position himself closer to the audience, which he says made him more comfortable. "It's amazing to me, when I saw Johnny's last show and he talked about 30 years, it seemed like so long," Leno said after completing show No. 1,005 Tuesday. "But now I see — it races by." Will Leno or Letterman replace Carson? Will there ever be another Carson? "It's like saying, will there ever be another Muhammad All?" Leno said. "Johnny crosses all personal lines. If there are eight characteristics you need to do this job, Johnny has all eight. Some guys have four, some have six. Johnny is funny, a good- looking guy, he's physically able to jump out of airplanes, ski jump, jump on trampolines. He's funny and witty and handsome. "He can take his shirt off for a skit. I would never take my shirt off." Times are different now. Television is different now. "Before cable," Wuhl said, "stand-up comedy was doing five minutes on Johnny Carson." Now there are HBO comedy specials, Comedy Central and several other late- night variety shows and outlets for telling jokes in front of a brick wall. Leno is remaking "The Tonight Show" as well. "I'm trying to make it less of a talk show and more of a comedy show with some talk in it," Leno said. He's adding more out-of-studio stuff, which makes his day longer. Leno says the grind is worth it. "If you don't want the job, you can quit," he said. "I don't mind doing this. I'd hate to do a sitcom or three specials a year. I wouldn't like that pace. This is the most fun I've ever had." ROGER EBERT'S VIDEO ALERT by Roger Ebert MYSTERY SCIENCE 3000: THE MOVIE (PG-13, 73 m., 1996). The 1955 sci-fi classic "This Island Earth" gets the treatment from the long-suffering Mike Nelson and his robot sidekicks, in the first movie version of the popular TV program. The subject of an experiment by a mad scientist who wants to control humanity by frying our brains with bad movies, Mike and his friends maintain their sanity by wisecracking through the plots, including this one, with Rex Reason as a hero scientist dealing with a big-domed alien played by Jeff Morrow. Countless wisecracks, a lot of them funny; the movie sets itself up, so you don't need to have seen the TV show. Rating: Three stars. FARGO (R, 98 m., 1996) is a crime story crossed with human comedy and with characters who are perfectly written and played; it's one of the year's best movies. Frances McDormand stars, as a pregnant small-town police chief who finds herself on the trail of a desperate car salesman (William H. Macy), who has , dug himself into a pit of fraud and conspiracy so deep that he fairly vibrates with fear and guilt. Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare are the Laurel and Hardy kidnapping team, both absurd and ruthless, and Harve Presnell is stubborn as the father-in-law who tries to get a better price out of the kidnappers of his daughter. The movie is violent, bloody, sweet, charming and surprisingly funny, and Mc- Dormand's performance is one of the most engaging and lovable of recent years. Written by Ethan and Joel Coen ("Blood Simple," "Barton Fink"), directed by Joel, produced by Ethan. Rating: Four stars. TWISTER (PG-13, 117 m., 1996). Wall-to-wall tornados and great special effects, in a movie very thin on plot. Storm chaser Bill Paxton brings his fiancee (Jami Gertz) along as he visits his first wife (Helen Hunt) in the middle of a Midwestern field where she's looking for tornados. They find plenty — at least five, including the biggest of all, the dreaded Finger of God. There's no time for plot, but the action is nonstop (the director, Jan De Bont, also made "Speed"). Skillful entertainment, but mindless. Too intense for children. Rating: Rating: Two and a half stars. A THIN LINE BETWEEN LOVE AND HATE (R, 108 m., 1996) stars Martin Lawrence as a ladies' man who lusts for a rich executive played by Lynn Whitfield. As soon as he wins her heart, he strays into the arms of another woman (Regina King). He's shameless, the kind of man ; who keeps the "Waiting to Exhale" generation waiting. But the first woman doesn't take this easily, in a "Fatal Attraction" scenario. Good performances and an interesting premise, but the film wanders off course too much to make the story compelling. Rating: Two and a half stars. THE BIRDCAGE (R, 118 m., 1996) stars Robin Williams as the owner and operator of a Miami Beach drag club, whose son begs him to go "straight" for a few days during a visit by his fiancee and her father, a conservative senator (Gene Hackman). Nathan Lane plays Williams' longtime lover and the star of the drag revue; he's devastated to be rejected by the boy he raised like his own son. The movie's a remake of "La Cage aux Folles" (1978), the French comedy that inspired two sequels and a Broadway play. The plot's familiar, but Mike Nichols and Elaine May, working together for the first time on a movie, get fresh performances from the cast, and add topical zingers to the dialogue. Rating: Three stars. COPYRIGHT 1996 THE EBERT CO. LTD. Selling the L A \\eadrick S Riverside 825-520O • (800) 825-O2O6 Each Office Independently Owned and Operated. ^MPWrW I __J!^.i,i.;-,L.. Si . ! "i< ;>! •'•. ..._.._ If 823-6792 1-800-563-1831 John Wood &Assoc. Manual Transmission & Transfer Case WAREHOUSE Replacement Parts For JEEP • FORD • CHEV • GM SPICER»DANA Power Train Components Specializing In Employee Benefits (fe Salina Journal A Super Source Of brings a life-long commitment to education... EDUCATION B.A. Kansas Wesleyan University M.S. Kansas State University Ph. D. Kansas University ' EXPERIENCE Mother of three 31 years as a high school teacher 8 years as Chairperson of Staff Development Committee of Salina High School South 12 years on Evaluation Review Committee for Teacher Preparation Colleges Selected Kansas Master Teacher, 1987 6 years as a member of the Kansas House of Representatives (1988-94) serving on the House Education Committee ' INVOLVEMENT Church Elder YWCA Board Community Access TV Volunteer tutor for Adult Education Learning Center Salina Youth Care Home Board ELOISE LYNCH for State Board of Education, District 6 Political Adv. Paid by LYNCH Campaign - Mike Mattson, Chair BENNETT AUTOPUEX, INC. 913-823-6372 or 1-800-569-5653 651 S.Ohio, Salina BUFFALO MEAT Retail and wholesale customers welcome Oz MEATS Salina, KS (East of checkered water tower on Scanlan al the Airport) (913)823-7474 800-435-6328 If the car Is starting to sauna like the ota tractor glue a call Bengfson 023-6159 Service Center 823-3771 Salinan Carolyn Payne? Crafted Tile • Trivets • Coasters • Ornaments MUSEUM Gift Store 211 West Iron Tues.-Fri. 12-5 & Sat. 10-5 Sun. 1-5 I BUILDINGS. ErCCl T7.7JL lllllT7nil| 207 N. Cedar High QDallty Construction! • Tractor Shedi •HayBinu > linstock Biros • RWIny tarns . • Airplane Hangers • Industrial Bnlldligs • MM Warehouses Abilene 813-203-2084 JEAN CURRY 2737 Belmont Blvd. 823-5129 we'll always be there for you. Shelter Insurance Cos., Home Office: 1817 W. Broadway, Columbia, MO 06218 Now On Video Downtown News Carroll's Carroll's' & Books Books Music Video Video. 204 S. Santa Fe Mid-State Mall Sunset Plaza 81996 Warner Home Video. 01996 Warner Bros, and Universal City Studios, Inc. CONNECTDN Division of USA, Inc. 1915 S.Ohio 825-6247 Real Sporting^ Equipment At Real Prices!- * > * FLUSH COOLING SYSTEM Recycle M Antifreeze Backflushes cooling system to remove deposits, scale and corrosion. • Recycled fluid provides superior corrosion protection for today's aluminum engines. • Pressure tests entire cooling system. Eliminates disposal and pollution problems. • Drains cooling system to facilitate repairs. We Now Accept The NAPACARD •K Brown's Shoe Fit Co. Your Men's & Larjies Headquarters * Our Gift To You TEN DOLLARS OFF ON ALL SAS SHOES OR HANDBAGS Valid thru October 12,1996. Only at Salina, KS, Brown's Shoe Fit. Free Time Siesta Breeze Time Out Whisper SHOE FIT CO. DOWNTOWN SALINA Mon.-Fri. 9-6 Thurs. 9-8 Sat. 9-5:30 While they last! Special purchase! Outdoor Storm Window or Door Kit Nail-on kit covers the outside of two overage windows or one door to reduce drafts and create insulating air space. Includes window film, fastening strips and nails. 295790 WATERS HARDWARE 460 South Ohio or 2106 South 9th Street

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