Leno Is Only Top Late-Night Host Taking Aim at Simon Cowell

Simon Cowell, seen last week in L.A. Inset: Jay Leno (Photos: Getty Images, NBC)

Late-night king Jay Leno skewered Simon Cowell in two consecutive monologues, while rival late-night stars David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon didn’t mention the story of Cowell’s impending fatherhood.

The story broke on Wednesday: “American Idol” and “X Factor” star Cowell in expecting his first child with a New York woman who is the wife of a man described as a “friend” of Cowell’s.

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It was front-page tabloid news on Thursday morning, and we fully expected it to be Topic A on the late-night monologues that evening. But we were wrong: A look at all the major monologues from Thursday night reveals that only Leno took up the subject for his monologue.

In fact, Leno led his “Tonight Show” monologues on both Thursday night and Friday night with Cowell jokes, while the others continued to avoid the subject. It’s true that both Letterman and Kimmel aired repeats on Friday night, but Fallon’s “Late Night” was a new show, and with the Cowell story featured prominently in the New York Daily News and New York Post for two days, we would have thought Fallon would have gotten to it by Friday. And that’s also why we would have predicted the story would have become instant fodder for the New York-based Letterman show as well.

Watch Leno’s Friday monologue, which opened with two Simon Cowell jokes:
[iframe http://xfinitytv.comcast.net/watch/The-Tonight-Show-With-Jay-Leno/8687230020288550112/40053315612/Monologue%3A-Aug-2%2C-2013%2C-Part-1/embed 580 476]

But for reasons we cannot determine, neither of them got into the Cowell story. The story that may have superceded it: The continuing story of New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, who was a top monologue topic on all of the late-night shows all week long.

But Leno has managed to work both Cowell and Weiner into his monologues, perhaps because his monologue is the longest by far in late-night TV, so there seems to be room for anyone and everyone involved in a current scandal.


Leno’s first Cowell joke came on Thursday night. “Congratulations to Simon Cowell,” Jay said that evening. “Do you know about this? He is going to be a father! What a story this is: It turns out the mother is the wife of a good friend of Simon’s. Let me tell you something, that’s a good friend! I can’t get my friends to give me a ride to the airport!”

“This is unbelievable,” Jay said, introducing his second Cowell joke of the night. “It turns out she is 10 weeks along, and all the classic signs are there — you know, the mood swings, the swollen breasts … and that’s just Simon!”

Watch Jay’s Thursday monologue:
[iframe http://xfinitytv.comcast.net/watch/The-Tonight-Show-With-Jay-Leno/8687230020288550112/39770179828/Monologue%3A-Aug-1%2C-2013%2C-Part-1/embed 580 476]

Friday night’s Cowell jokes on the “Leno” show went like this:

“I read today the hottest place in America this week was Death Valley at 117 degrees,” Leno said. “People there were sweatin’ like Simon Cowell watching ‘How I Met Your Mother’! That’s how hot it was!”

“As you may have heard, Simon Cowell’s gonna be a father. Turns out he got the wife of a close friend of his pregnant. And you know who’s really worried about this? His other close friends!”

“Well, did you hear his excuse? He said the reason he slept with his best friend’s wife was he wanted to have a better understanding of country music! So I thought that was an interesting kind of … get to the know the country music scene a little better!”

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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