Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Jay Leno, The Softball Pitcher

A softball.Image via Wikipedia

If you missed Jay Leno's inaugural show in the 10 p.m. ET time slot Monday night, consider yourself lucky. I watched and I'm still trying to get his horrible "interview" of Kanye West out of my head. West, as you know by now, had stolen the spotlight from Taylor Swift the previous night on MTV's Video Music Awards and the rumor was that he would use Leno's show, on which he was performing with Jay-Z and Rihanna, to apologize.

What transpired could be used to teach college students how not to conduct an interview. In fact, I will use it in the college class I'm teaching at Belmont University here in Nashville.

Let's go to the transcript...

LENO: Welcome back, everybody. We're thrilled to have Jay-Z, Rihanna, and Kanye West here tonight. But before they perform, this really wasn't planned; we did this kind of last minute. Kanye wanted to talk, so please welcome Kanye West.

Talk about what, Jay? You're not going to tell folks about the incident the previous night? After all, not everyone was watching when Kanye took the mic from Taylor and not everyone saw the clips posted on Web site, Facebook and Twitter. Tell us why he's here, Jay.


Have a seat, my friend. First of all, let me say thank you for honoring this commitment. A lot of times, people -- things happen. They kind of back out at the last minute, or they have a publicist or someone call and say, "Oh, I'm sorry, my client's not available." So thank you for coming and doing this, in light of all the things that have been going on.

Tell me about your day. Have you had a tough day today?
Yes, Jay, he had a tough day. He was rude to a young woman on a nationally televised awards show. He interrupted her acceptance speech so that he could call attention to his own opinion about who should have won the award.

(Weak laughter.)

WEST: Yeah, it's been extremely difficult. I just -- just dealing with the fact that I hurt someone or took anything away, you know, from a talented artist or from anyone, because I only wanted to help people. My entire life, I've only wanted to give and do something that I felt was right. And I immediately knew in the situation that it was wrong, and it wasn't a spectacle or just -- you know, it's actually someone's emotions, you know, that I stepped on. And it was very -- it was just -- it was rude, period. And, you know, I'd like to be able to apologize to her in person. And I wanted to --

LENO: So when did you know you were wrong? Was it afterwards? as you were doing it? When did it strike you, "Uh-oh"? Uh-oh? Yeah, that's what he was thinking, Jay. Uh-oh.

WEST: As soon as I gave the mic back to her and she didn't keep going. (Laughter.)

This next segment is where Jay attempts to make it seem like he's grilling Kanye. He still doesn't specify what it is that Kanye's mom would be disappointed by. He can't, he's pitching softballs.

LENO: Let me ask you something. I was fortunate enough to meet your mom and talk with your mom a number of years ago. What do you think she would have said about this? Would she be disappointed in this?

Would she give you a lecture?

WEST: Yeah. You know, obviously, you know, I deal with hurt. And, you know, so many celebrities, they never take the time off. I've never taken the time off to really -- you know, just music after music and tour after tour. I'm just ashamed that my hurt caused someone else's hurt. My dream of what awards shows are supposed to be, 'cause -- and I don't try to justify it because I was just in the wrong. That's period. But I need to, after this, take some time off and just analyze how I'm going to make it through the rest of this life, how I'm going to improve. Because I am a celebrity, and that's something I have to deal with. And if there's anything I could do to help Taylor in the future or help anyone, I'd like -- you know, I want to live this thing. It's hard sometimes, so --

LENO: Thanks for coming here, and thanks for doing that. Doing what, Jay? Drilling your softballs foul even though you pitched them right over the plate? Barely mentioning Taylor's name?


You're going to sing? Give it a shot?
Yes, he's going to give it a shot, Jay. He's a tough kid. But don't be so tough on him next time, OK?

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

They're Just Doin' Their Job

M068 Chevrolet Bel-Air - USA Ohio State Highwa...Image by conner395 via Flickr

I've been on the road in Ohio the last several days, attending my brother's wedding in Cleveland on Saturday.

The number of state troopers on Ohio's highways never ceases to amaze me. Yes, it's Labor Day weekend, the last hurrah of summer, and I'm sure they're on the lookout for drunk drivers and speeders, but I've long been convinced my home state has more troopers per capita than any state I've driven in. They're everywhere!

It reminds of the time I was taking Paul Brandt, who has gone on to become quite the star in Canada, on radio tour. We were sailing north from Cincinnati to Dayton on I-75 when I was pulled over by a state trooper for not properly signaling when I changed lanes.

The trooper asked all the standard questions: "Do you know why I pulled you over?" "Where are you from?" "What is the purpose of your travel?" When he got to the last question, I told I worked for Warner Bros. Records and was taking Paul to visit K99 in Dayton. He hadn't heard of Paul, of course, but he did know the station in Dayton.

After going back to his car to run my license and registration, the trooper returned, this time on the passenger side. When Paul rolled down the window, the trooper tossed my license back in the car and pushed his clipboard in the window toward Paul. "Can I get your autograph?" Paul quickly obliged, adding a line from a Junior Brown song of the day to the grateful trooper: "I'm just a-doin'my job, I'm the highway patrol."
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