Is Jay Leno Ripping Off Howard Stern?
By Jo Piazza Posted Oct 20th 2009 05:04PM
It is never a good idea to go upsetting Howard Stern, but Jay Leno managed to get himself in the 'King of All Media's cross hairs last week. Stern ripped the NBC talk show host a new one on his morning Sirius radio show last Tuesday, accusing Jay of stealing one of his bits. Leno had invited NFL commentator Terry Bradshaw onto his show to square off against a chicken in choosing the week's football winners. Cute idea, except it was a bit Howard began doing years ago, first with a chicken and then with a monkey.
Of course it could be entirely possible that the idea of poultry selecting the week's football picks could just be such the perfect comic trope that two separate teams of comedy writers came up with the same idea, but Howard didn't seem to think so.
"This must be a giant 'Punk'd' on me. This guy's ripped off like ten major things from my show. But the chicken thing we did for years," Stern said on 'The Howard Stern Show' last week.
Stern was so peeved at what he believed to be Leno's thievery that he asked producer Gary Dell'Abate to send a tape of his chicken skit over to the Leno show.
Screenshot Pulled from Longtime Stern Archivist MarksFriggin.com of a Football Show From Nov. 10, 2003 including Sanders, a Real Chicken
"Actually, you know what I'm going to do? 'Hey Gary, send a tape to Jay Leno personally... a tape of us having a chicken pick our winners...just so he knows he's a scumbag. He's just a f--ing con man, rip off artist, no idea mother---," Stern said.
At first Stern wondered whether or not his former flunkie, 'Stuttering John' Melendez, who left Stern to work for Leno years ago, could have had something to do with the similarity between the skits. Stern has never hidden that he was furious at Leno for not approaching him personally before he made the hire.
"Well, John's a writer on there now, did he just rip that [off]? Is John desperate to contribute? ...did he...go through old tapes?" Stern wondered.
Stern sound man Fred Norris said he would be the first to cast a stone at Melendez, but he didn't think John would swipe old Stern skits.
But Melendez stuck up for Leno in a Facebook post earlier this week. On Monday's show, Stern steamed up hearing about it, angered by thinking about the career breaks he had provided for his former crew member.
NBC didn't return calls for comment on whether Jay had received the tapes from Gary or on whether Leno was familiar with Howard's old material before crafting the chicken skit.
This isn't the first time that the Stern staff accused Leno of swiping their schtick. Howard has complained in the past that Jay swiped his famous JayWalking segment from a "man on the street" skit the Stern show used to do with homeless people. A search of Stern archivist MarksFriggin.com shows that the homeless game dates back to at least the mid-90s on Stern's show. See examaples from both below:
Stern has also complained of late about a new Leno bit where he makes stars perform certain tasks to be allowed to plug their upcoming projects. Stern has complained that he has done the same thing with adult film stars appearing on his show for years.
In September, Stern warned that 'The Jay Leno Show' would eventually bring the entire network down around him. Stay tuned to PopEater to see how the Stern vs. Leno battle shakes out. And watch Stern make no secret of his feelings for Leno below during his latest appearance on 'The Late Show with David Letterman.'
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