Saturday, July 19, 2008

Jay Leno knows what's important

We all loved hot rods and antique cars as a kid growing up in Boston. Jay Leno, who hails from these parts, still does and will when his days at NBC are over.
Although Conan O'Brien will take over The Tonight Show in 2009, Leno says he isn't ready to permanently trade his sports coat for mechanic's overalls.

"I am definitely done next year — with NBC," he says, sitting in a huge recliner in his poster-strewn shop office. Would he go to another network? Leno just smiles. "I'm not a beach guy, and the last time I was in my pool was to fix a light. Don't worry, I'll find a job somewhere."

In the meantime, he'll keep coming here in between the more than 160 stand-up dates he does each year. For Leno, Hollywood's gifts are fickle, but his automotive family — from his machines to the half-dozen mechanics who work for him — grounds him in a reality that recalls his New England roots.

"In showbiz, your success is totally subjective. 'Oh, the ratings are great, we love you. Oh, they're not, we don't love you,' " he says, waving a hand dismissively. "Here in the shop, if something is broken and you fix it, you know you can be proud."

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