NEW YORK – Jay Leno was only slightly shaken, but definitely not stirred Wednesday night when guest Tom Green got seriously drunk on The Tonight Show.
From the moment he came on the set, the eccentric comedian — best known for his MTV series and his marriage to Drew Barrymore, both of which were short-lived — began downing multiple shots of Jagermeister, the 70-proof German liqueur in the squarish dark green bottle.
In quick succession, Green knocked back at least a half-dozen glasses of the dark liquid while Leno looked on. Appearing a tad uneasy at times, Leno maintained control of the segment despite Green's increasing intoxication.
At one point, Leno and Green phoned Green's father in Canada, but Green — feeling the effects of the booze — suddenly hung up on his dad, who was in mid-sentence.
For viewers watching at home, the appearance was edge-of-your-seat television, although Green managed to avoid falling flat on his face.
He was well-spoken during the first portion of his appearance, but by the end of the segment, he had begun to mumble incoherently.
In the segment that followed, Leno's next guest — young actress Rosario Dawson from Men in Black II — had to continually fend off Green as he leaned over the arm of her chair and made faces at the camera. He even spilled part of a shot-glassful of Jagermeister on the actress's dress.
While Leno looked surprised at times at the volume of Green's consumption, a Tonight Show spokeswoman said Green's plan to see what it was like to get drunk on the show was known to Leno and his producers before the show began.
"He had an idea that it would be funny to come on the show and get drunk and do something different," she said. " I think he ended up feeling the effects of it a little more than he expected to."
Indeed, Green's publicist said the comedian became inspired to drink on the show after he viewed tapes at the Museum of Television and Radio in Los Angeles of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin quaffing cocktails on The Tonight Show in the era of Johnny Carson.
She said he didn't seem to suffer any ill-effects following his drinking binge and even awoke early yesterday morning to conduct a series of satellite radio interviews.