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Latest Bin Laden Tape Takes Credit For Jay Leno
WASHINGTON (CAP) - In an audiotape broadcast today on Arab television, al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden claimed full responsibility for comedian Jay Leno.
"It is not fair that you should enjoy quality late-night humor while our brothers around the world are experiencing comedy of the most miserable level," Bin Laden said in his message, apparently addressing Americans directly. "Based on this, with the permission of God, we will continue to inflict Jay Leno upon you until the suffering of our people abates."
The announcement is the latest of a rash of bad publicity for the late-night host, who even before the al Qaeda announcement had been named "the most hated man in the world" in recent polls from CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, TV Guide and Octane magazine, an auto publication that runs a column by Leno.
"Used to run," clarified Octane editor Max Cargswell. "We hate him now."
"The man owns 14,000 cars. You don't think they're contributing to the hole in the ozone layer?" asked former Vice President al Gore at a New York City fundraiser for the Alliance for Climate Protection. "Ooh, I just hate him."
The crowd at the $500-a-plate dinner then started chanting "CoCo, CoCo, CoCo," in reference to displaced Tonight show host Conan O'Brien, and "burned" a cardboard cutout of Leno by illuminating it with fluorescent light bulbs.
TV psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw, in an interview with Us Weekly, says the dramatic turnaround in public opinion toward Leno may be unprecedented. "He was thought of for years as this nice, funny, middle-of-the-road guy, and suddenly people are equating him to the likes of Hitler, Genghis Khan, Dick Cheney," noted McGraw. "I wonder how that's working out for him."
"It's not so much that people hate him now, it's the unbridled vehemence of the hate I find scary," said McGraw. "Not that it's misplaced - I'd kill him with my bare hands if I got the chance."
Leno has also come under fire from Fugees singer Wyclef Jean for impeding recovery efforts in the wake of the Jan. 12 Haiti earthquake, while scientists attempting to establish the cause of the quake have even said Leno may have triggered it.
"We hate that guy," said Fred Menkerschmidt of the Global Seismology Laboratory at M.I.T.
For his part, O'Brien - in a monologue during his last broadcast of Tonight on Friday - said people should not blame Leno for what happened to his show.
"All I ask of you is one thing: please don't be cynical," O'Brien said. "No matter how involved Jay was with al Qaeda, or how much of the ozone layer he's dissipated, or how many Haitians he's killed, it just doesn't lead anywhere good." O'Brien did admit, though, that he had sent Triumph the Insult Comic Dog to Leno's house to poop on him.
Leno is set to take over Tonight again on March 1, 2010, the date on the Mayan calendar said to mark, loosely translated, "the death of laughter." Asked by CAP News for comment on the bin Laden tape and the other accusations, Leno responded, "Well whaddya know about that?" and furrowed his brow sardonically while shaking his massive chin.
A jack-booted NBC security officer then emerged from behind him and beat the reporter into submission with a riding crop.
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