Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin made her highly-publicized appearance on The Tonight Show on Jay Leno’s second day back amid ratings indicating Leno was getting a whopping re-sampling from late night viewers. Meanwhile, David Letterman had on former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Leno’s audience received her warmly in the interview and her prepared jokes — and throughout her appearance her political celebrity power (which can count for something in 21st century American politics where politics is now a combination of show biz and blood sport verbal professional wrestling) shone through.
She opens the show for Leno and tells some jokes:
Part 1 interview with Leno:
Part II Palin does standup:
Here’s Romney’s appearance on Letterman, an example of counter programming. The only problem for Romney and Letterman: Romney doesn’t have the political celebrity star power that Palin (love her or not) most assuredly has:
And of course, the appearances have sparked much coverage and discussion in the old and new media. A sampling:
–The LA Times’ Andrew Malcolm offers both text excerpts and some video and writes:
Sarah Palin popped up on Jay Leno’s revived NBC “Tonight Show” tonight and poked a little fun at herself by writing Jay’s introduction cue notes on her hand. (See video below.)
The pair, both of whom have taken hits in the media in recent weeks, talked amiably about a wide variety of issues.
Jay Leno is trying hard this week to get his show back on track with big name guests. Tonight he had Sarah Palin on. While Palin still has not dared to appear on any of the Sunday morning interview shows, she’s always up for some fluff.
Leno kept away from issues to avoid too much embarrassment for Palin. There was one strange exchange in which Leno talked about the media crossing the line to go after her children….
…Palin naturally had writing on her hand and she even made a lame attempt at stand up comedy. If this was anyone else such an act might be taken as evidence that she does not intend to run for president in the future. Sarah Palin has already made such a gigantic fool out of herself while running for vice president that tonight’s appearance cannot hurt her any more.
Letterman meanwhile countered Palin’s appearance on The Tonight Show by having Mitt Romney on Late Night. Romney warned Dave to be careful of what he says about Sarah Palin because, “She has a rifle, you know.” Personally I think that, instead of inviting Romney on to counter Sarah Palin, Letterman should have invited Tina Fey.
Not sure who wrote her material–it’s average–but she does get off a few zingers. Smal talk between her and Jay Leno the first four minutes or so, then she’s does a couple minutes of jokes. I might add she looks fantastic in jeans…
…She mentioned she’ll be speaking at the NRA convention. One can only imagine the hysterical left’s reaction when that happens.
As I predicted, Jay Leno’s return to hosting The Tonight Show resulted in big ratings, soundly beating David Letterman with his Monday debut (re-debut?). Leno’s first guest last night was Sarah Palin. Jay gave her a chance to explain what he called her “writing on the palm thing.” She referred to it as “the poor boy’s version of the teleprompter” and said she was going to “keep doin’ it.”
Palin met with an enthusiastic response from The Tonight Show audience, which clapped vigorously after almost every one of her comments…
…Meanwhile, over on The Late Show, Mitt Romney told Dave he thinks Palin is “terrific.” Listen to the audience groan….And that’s one big difference between the Leno and Letterman audiences… and maybe the reason Leno pulls the bigger ratings?
One-time governor Sarah Palin attempted to do a stand-up comedy routine on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show. Unfortunately, Palin is funnier when she’s not doing stilted jokes.
–Political figures are now big B.O. (that’s Variety term for box office, by the way) on late night, the Chicago Sun-Times blog notes:
To counter, David Letterman on Tuesday booked Mitt Romney. I don’t think it’s much of a match: Palin will bring Leno more viewers than Romney. Don’t take this as a prediction of who will be the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, but, rather, who people want to hear from next Tuesday. Ted Johnson, over at Variety’s Wilshire and Washington blog notes how Leno and Letterman are booking political figures for their shows.
Talk of Sarah Palin and tea parties spread across the talk shows last night, almost as if her appearance on the Tonight Show couldn’t stay confined to one program. As a guest, Palin raised the bar for late-night absurdity by performing a stand-up comedy act and describing the tea-party movement as “beautiful.” “She’s terrific,” Mitt Romney told David Letterman on his show, and warned the host to be nicer about her, apparently unaware that Letterman is acquainted with her wrath. Tea-party chatter continued on The Colbert Report, where David Brooks attempted to tell the host that Reagan would not have agreed with the protesters, which went about as well as could be expected. Finally, Craig Ferguson seemed to be lonely in all the Palin hubbub.
Go to the link to see a video compilation.
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Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.