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10 November 1998

A Howler update: Leno gets it right!

Synopsis: Hay-yo! The jut-jawed host of a comedy show got a famous young intern’s age right!

Monologue by Jay Leno
The Tonight Show, NBC, 11/9/98

Imagine our surprise, after yesterday’s posting, when we heard Jay replayed on the air this morning, and heard this joke from last night’s monologue. Why, it almost brought us right out of our lounge chairs:

LENO: Guess you all know by now, Newt Gingrich has stepped down and will resign from the Congress. Boy, that Bill Clinton must be the luckiest guy in the world. He is so smart. He gets to have sex with a 22-year-old intern, and Newt loses his job over it.

Everyone in the world has been telling the joke, but we cheered Jay’s command of the facts. After all the fumbling and bumbling by this celebrity press corps--those folks who just can’t get Monica’s age right, wink wink--here was the host of a comedy show, nailing her right on the button! And it was Jay, of all people--king of the counterfactual premises--who managed to know how old Mo-mo had been! How hard can it be to know a few facts, when the facts are even known out in Hollywood?

We couldn’t help thinking how amazing it was, that Jay could have had it down cold. Pat Buchanan didn’t know it. Tony Snow didn’t know it. Mark Shields didn’t know it. Mona Charen? Get real! Jerry Seper botched it up extra bad. Donald Lambro took a big swing and a miss. Even David Maraniss passed on the wrong age, in the voice of a quoted commentator. (See past DAILY HOWLERs, below.)

But jut-jawed Jay somehow got the gal’s age. And we think we may just know why. He isn’t out pushing a sleazy agenda, and maybe he doesn’t just those accusers. So in contrast to those folks in the celebrity press corps, he’s allowed to say things that are right!

Visit our incomparable archives: Watch the corps misstate the world’s simplest known facts. Read:
Forever young,” 10/8/98
Still forever young,” 11/9/98

Outrage lives: The perpetually-furious William J. Bennett has his shorts in a wad about Clinton. You know, how you can’t believe a thing he says, and you can’t get a straight story out of him?

Heck, we’ll let him tell you about it himself. Here he is, in The Death of Outrage (page 3):

BENNETT: The evidence and the facts lead overwhelmingly to one conclusion: Bill Clinton committed a crime when he lied under oath about his sexual affair, in the Oval Office, with a twenty-one-year-old intern.

Yep. You can see how carefully he’s marshaled the facts, when you read an indictment like that.