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Bill Clinton was Jay Leno's top 'Tonight' target



By DAVID BAUDER

NEW YORK (AP) - For Jay Leno, Bill Clinton was the comic gift who kept giving. By one exhaustive count, the outgoing "Tonight" show host made 4,607 jokes at the former president's expense during his time on the program.

The Center for Media and Public Affairs catalogued nearly 44,000 jokes Leno made about political figures and celebrities at "Tonight" through Jan. 24. Leno is leaving "Tonight" after Thursday.

His first Clinton joke came on May 25, 1992, shortly after taking over from Johnny Carson and when Clinton was still a presidential candidate. "Clinton says that he's troubled by the amount of sex on television," Leno said. "He says that where he's from sex is a deeply personal thing between a candidate and his campaign volunteers."

"Leno jokes about powerful people and he jokes about scandals. Bill Clinton is both," said Robert Lichter, director of the Washington-area think tank and author of the upcoming book, "Politics is a Joke: How TV Comedians are Remaking Political Life."

How long has Leno been joking about Clinton? One popular topic was the politician's weight and penchant for fast food - now he's a lean vegetarian.

Not only is Clinton more than a thousand jokes ahead of the runnerup (George W. Bush, 3,239 jokes), Leno's top 10 targets also include Hillary Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.

Leno's concentration on politics is evident in the list of his top 10 targets. They include seven people who served as president or vice president or ran for the presidency. And just outside the top 10 are John McCain, Mitt Romney and John Kerry.

Meanwhile, Kim Kardashian had a relatively low count of 37 jokes.

"Leno is an old reliable," Lichter said. "He's like an old shoe that fits and is comfortable. He was never trendy, he was never cutting edge. But he was a master of the one-liner."

Jay Leno's top targets for jokes during his time at the "Tonight" show, through Jan. 24, as compiled by the Center for Media and Public Affairs.

1. Bill Clinton - 4,607 jokes.

2. George W. Bush - 3,239 jokes.

3. Al Gore - 1,026 jokes.

4. Barack Obama - 1,011 jokes.

5. Hillary Clinton - 939 jokes.

6. O.J. Simpson - 795 jokes.

7. Dick Cheney - 673 jokes.

8. Michael Jackson - 505 jokes.

9. Monica Lewinsky - 454 jokes.

10. Bob Dole - 452 jokes.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
mrscdel February 05 2014 at 3:51 PM

Hope you read this.....You were the ONLY one who could follow Johnny .....A friend of late MickeyJM. If you are ever in Bflo.....

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MELAINE TIRADO February 05 2014 at 4:19 PM

Jay, I'm so sad u r leaving, u have been my laughing partner for years. I will miss you so much! You r the best!

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1 reply
whiteyz MELAINE TIRADO February 05 2014 at 4:33 PM

papecox

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1 reply
whiteyz whiteyz February 05 2014 at 4:38 PM

cheap jokes

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s February 05 2014 at 4:20 PM

Im surprised to hear someone can do 452 Dole jokes.

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2 replies
euclidbobswan s February 05 2014 at 4:24 PM

You're forgetting those Viagra commercials Dole used to do. Plenty of fodder there!

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Sweetness s February 05 2014 at 4:28 PM

and only 673 Cheney...lol

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rjz895 February 05 2014 at 4:21 PM

Hate to see you go Jay. Good Luck

Flag Reply +3 rate up
nagy22 February 06 2014 at 12:28 PM

Fallon only has young audience. But young people are working, who would stay up watching him? Just like work place you can be the best still unappreciated, friend of boss....In this case unfriend of the liberals and you'll be fired

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1 reply
BANDIT BILL nagy22 February 06 2014 at 12:45 PM

Young liberals don't work. With all the government handouts now they can stay home and stay up.

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1 reply
Bob BANDIT BILL February 06 2014 at 1:19 PM

YEZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!!!!!

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thearizonatrio February 05 2014 at 4:24 PM

miss u already , Jay. You, Steve Allen and Johnny will never be topped..

Flag Reply +3 rate up
mikeabella February 05 2014 at 5:49 PM

Say what you may, I thought Leno was pretty funny. Going to be missed.

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Tommy V February 05 2014 at 4:26 PM

Politicians simply are the best people to make jokes about. They can never say a simple yes, or no dude. They ALL exagerate the lie. It's unbelievable some of the things they expect us to believe.

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holtz1903 February 05 2014 at 5:47 PM

The Past, Present, and Future walk into a bar...............................IT WAS TENCE.

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1 reply
hotspringspark holtz1903 February 05 2014 at 5:49 PM

A three legged dog hobbles into a western saloon and loudly barks out "anybody here know who shot my paw?

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jerryb182 February 05 2014 at 4:29 PM

Jay is great BUT then isin't it always funny to laugh at people in power or of high stature.. As a kid I always found it funny to see the man in a business suit slip on a banna peel. Guess Its just human nature to laugh when the BIG GUYS fail

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