Jay Leno’s No. 1 joke target was Bill Clinton

“Leno’s monologues focused on power and scandal, and Bill Clinton was the top twofer,” says George Mason professor.
By Evan Bleier  |  Feb. 5, 2014 at 10:29 AM
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FAIRFAX, Va., Feb. 5 (UPI) -- In honor of Jay Leno’s final show on Feb. 6, the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University took a look at who the host of The Tonight Show made fun of the most during his monologues from May 25, 1992, to Jan. 24, 2014.

Leno made 43,892 jokes during that time period and 4,607 of them were about former President Bill Clinton. “Slicky Willy” was Leno’s top all-time target and former President George W. Bush was next with 3,239 jokes followed by Al Gore with 1,026.

Although he has appeared on David Letterman’s show 10 times, Clinton was never a guest on The Tonight Show while Leno was the host. “Leno’s monologues focused on power and scandal, and Bill Clinton was the top twofer,” said CMPA Director Dr. Robert Lichter.

Among non-political targets, Leno made fun of O.J. Simpson the most with 795 jokes, followed by Michael Jackson (505), Martha Stewart (208), Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan (tied at 153).

According to the study:

“Throughout his Tonight Show tenure, Leno most often joked about powerful people and scandalous behavior. The two were combined in Bill Clinton, which accounts for his 4607 joke total, over one out of every ten jokes Leno delivered about public affairs and public figures.

Clinton, his wife Hillary Clinton, his V.P. Al Gore, and his favorite intern Monica Lewinsky accounted for four of Leno’s top seven targets. Overall, the top twenty list includes the past four presidents and vice-presidents, as well as the past six failed major party nominees for president.”

The study also noted that Democrats were the subject of 10,885 jokes, 15 percent more jokes than he told about Republicans.

[George Mason] [Los Angeles Times]

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