Give Jay a Hand

How do you handle a slight? I think Jay Leno (search) handles one very well. Because I don't even think he thinks about it, or worries about it, or even remotely obsesses about it.

Jay's simply too classy for that.

I know we're all rightfully mourning Johnny Carson's (search) passing right now. But let's be clear here: Johnny slighted Jay.

Talk was Johnny liked a guy named Dave more than Jay. He wrote jokes for Dave, but none for Jay. He saved his praises for Dave — not a one for Jay.

Yet there was Jay, devoting his entire Monday show to the man he succeeded.

It's fitting, of course: Jay inherited the mantle. Jay freely admitted he was no Johnny — even though his ratings were higher than Johnny's and double Dave's.

Jay never bragged. This night, was Johnny's night.

He could have made a reference at the open of the show and moved on. Maybe devoted the entire monologue to it and carried on.

No, Jay did away with that. He nixed scheduled guests like Paris Hilton and brought in Johnny friends like Ed Mcmahon, Don Rickles and Bob Newhart.

Jay showed Johnny clips, told Johnny jokes and then brought in K.D. Lang to sing a Johnny tribute.

Dave was on vacation. Jay was not.

Johnny was gone and Jay was the one remembering — not a single slight, but a gifted life.

I don't know if I'd have been so big. But I guess that's what makes Jay... even bigger.

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