Stand-up comedian, television host, bestselling author, car builder, and philanthropist Jay Leno is bringing his stand-up comedy tour to the Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s Andrew Jackson Hall for one night only on Thursday, September 11, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets go on sale Friday, May 9 at 10:00 a.m. at tpac.org, by phone at 615-782-4040, and at the TPAC Box Office, 505 Deaderick Street, in downtown Nashville.
Acclaimed TV late-night-show host, admired stand-up comedian, best-selling children’s book author, much-in-demand corporate speaker, lovable TV and movie voice-over artist, pioneering car builder and mechanic, and philanthropist. It’s no wonder that Jay Leno is widely characterized as “the hardest working man in show business.” And all this hard work has certainly paid off handsomely: Leno’s late-night television ratings domination has included two decades as the host of the #1-rated The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, he has never lost a year in which he has served as host.
In the process, he has been honored by the Television Academy with an Emmy for ‘Outstanding Comedy, Variety or Music Series.” “The Tonight Show” also has taken home the trophy for ‘Favorite Late Night Show’ in the annual TV Guide Awards determined by voting viewers. As if nighttime dominance was not enough, Leno has also succeeded in the newest entertainment arena.
Leno, himself, is the recipient of the People’s Choice Award and other honors, including the Harris Poll selection as most popular star on television. Other personal highlights include the Hasty Pudding Award at Harvard University, an honor whose sole prior comedy/talk host recipient was Johnny Carson; receiving a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, and being the first person to drive the pace car of all major NASCAR events.
It was in May of 1992 when Leno followed in the footsteps of legendary NBC late-night hosts Steve Allen, Jack Paar and Johnny Carson as “Tonight Show” host. Pitted against another television superstar David Letterman in the 11:35 pm hour, Leno became the ratings leader of late night within two years and never looked back.
Prior to becoming host, Leno had been the exclusive guest host on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson since September 1987. He first appeared as a guest on the show March 2, 1977, and he made numerous additional appearances on the show, as well as NBC’s former program “Late Night with David Letterman.”
Moreover, he is committed to using his amalgam of talents to help those less fortunate. Each year, he serves as master of ceremonies and does numerous benefit performances, including shows for those whose lives were devastated by the 9/11 tragedy, the tsunami in Thailand, hurricanes in the gulf, and the severe economic downturn in Detroit. He leads the annual Love Ride in California to benefit numerous humanitarian organizations serving people with autism, muscular dystrophy, and Special Olympics, among many others.
He also has served as honorary campaign chairman for several years for the Entertainment Industry Foundation, Hollywood’s charitable arm, and he has assisted the Gender Apartheid campaign led by wife Mavis together with the Feminist Majority, to free Afghan women of Taliban tyranny, an effort for which Mavis and The Feminist Majority were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Leno’s children’s book If Roast Beef Could Fly (from Simon & Schuster) hit bookstores in April 2004 and immediately was a New York Times Bestseller. His follow-up kids book How to be the Funniest Kid In Your Class was similarly successful. His other book, Leading with My Chin (from HarperCollins), hit the bookstores in 1998. He also has published four versions of Headlines, the compilation of books and desk calendars featuring his favorite funny newspaper headlines, and Police Blotter, a book with more humorous newspaper clips involving police stories (book proceeds go to various charities).
Leno was born in New Rochelle, New York, and raised in Andover, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Mavis, live in Los Angeles.