Jay Leno; Bill Zehme Leading With My Chin

ISBN 13: 9780060186944

Leading With My Chin

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9780060186944: Leading With My Chin

The comedian and host of The Tonight Show offers a hilarious collection of anecdotes about growing up, his careers as a mechanic and stand-up comic, life on the road, and success. 1,000,000 first printing. $500,000 ad/promo. Tour.

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Review:

So what do you expect from a celebrity autobiography? Tales of an impoverished childhood and an unappreciated early career? Angst-ridden revelation? In Jay Leno's take on the genre, tales have only one purpose--laughs. This is a book of jokey anecdotes and humorous stories marking the comedian's progress to the top. The persona of the young Leno is not so different and just as likable as the one appearing nightly on television. Whether it is his mother's advice, his teachers' complaints, or the awkward situations he finds himself in (for example, standing before an Orthodox Jewish audience who have been mistakenly led to expect a Yiddish storyteller) Leno always sees the funny side.

From the Publisher:

Long before he became the host of the tonight show, Jay Leno was dubbed by the media and his peers alike as the "Hardest-working Man in Show Business." Performing comedy at a breakneck pace, he played more than 300 dates a year and traveled to every corner of the nation. Or as his mother who never quite understood what he did for a living, liked to say, "Going from town to town, putting on his little skits."

In Leading with My Chin, Jay recounts many of the ridiculous steps (and missteps) that have led him on maybe the unlikeliest of paths -- from college campuses to Carnegie Hall to Las Vegas, and finally, to The Tonight Show.

Unlike many comedians whose acts reflect broken homes and neurotic backgrounds, Jay reveals in his wholesome Andover, Massachusetts, upbringing. As the child of a Scottish mother and an Italian father, he had a home life that was equal parts absurd and loving. Which is plain to see in Jay's heartwarming stories about his parents: like the time his mother knocked him out cold with a pot when caught ditching high school. Or the night at Carnegie Hall when she shushed people actually laughing at his show. Or when Jay said to his dad that crushing the roof on the family car wasn't all that bad.

Out on the comedy circuit -- a virtual battle zone for Jay -- he encountered every humiliation a performer has ever known. From the club owners who didn't pay, to mobsters who spared his life and loaned him their guns, to the agent who wanted him to be America's first comedy wrestler, to the brave and naked strippers who beat up his hecklers for him. Then there were the triumphant performance nights when he was literally mugged on stage, when his clothes were set afire, or when he merely punched out and taunted with death threats. And also that romantic night at the Comedy Store -- working with the likes of David Letterman, Robin Williams, Andy Kaufman and Steve Martin -- when he met his future wife, Mavis, outside the ladies' room!

In Hollywood, Jay was told that his was a face that would frighten children. He went on to explore every facet of movies and television sitcoms, playing thuggish goofballs, before he finally took to the road and ultimately became what he had always wanted to be: host of The Tonight Show.

Brimming with stories that are heartwarming and endearing, humiliating and just downright embarrassing, Leading with My Chin demonstrates the silly things you have to go through to make people laugh.

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