Jay Leno is finally coming back to evening television, and, in my opinion, it’s not a moment too soon. We need to laugh more, go to bed earlier, carry less stress and treat each other better every day.
So the nightly television line-up will finally have more than drama and newsmagazines. I think Jay Leno’s return is what our national congregation needs.
King Solomon acknowledged that there is “a time to die,” “a time to weep,” “a time to teard down,” and “a time to mourn.” And we’ve had a lot of each in the last several months. We’ve mourned Walter Cronkite, he also acknowledged there is “a time to mend,” “a time to heal,” and “a time to laugh.”
From the big screen to the big stage, politics to poetry, heroes to villians and several points in between, we’ve mourned quite a few deaths. We still don’t have national health care and the President’s approval ratings are cratering. We can’t tell if we’re in recovery or recession. And we carry the stress, anxiety and lack of sleep that comes with it.
Years ago, when he announced the succession plan that would give Conan O’Brien “The Tonight Show’s” hosting job, I (like many) thought “wow, that seems premature.” Indeed, he was moving on at a far younger age than Johnny Carson. Wasn’t this comedy’s top job? Wasn’t this the highest of heights that a comedian can climb?
And, wasn’t there some kind of responsibility to stay the course for the sake of the nationwide congregation of late-night watchers?
Nevertheless, Conan O’Brien took over in May, and the summer of Health Care Forums, Michael Jackson’s passing, Ted Kennedy’s passing, Sarah Palin’s transition, the economic question of whether we’re in recovery or recession, President Obama’s outtakes, Hillary Clinton’s outburst and a host of other items have endured somewhat boringly with out Mr. Leno’s comedic commentary and satirical reflection. We just plain haven’t laughed enough.
Conan O’Brien has not taken off. David Letterman has not filled the void. A host of other comedians labor on, but none seem to have stepped up. And it’s more than just a ratings game, or an entertainment issue.
One biblical description of paradise is a “place filled with exuberance and laughter, thankful voices and melodic songs.”
“Laughter and bread go together,” said King Solomon.
“He will yet fill your mouth with laughter,” says Job 8:21, “and your lips with shouts of joy.”
Welcome back to the evening pulpit, Jay. I’m glad you’re on earlier (10 pm, NBC) as well.