Review // Leading With My Chin – Jay Leno

It’s been quite a while since I read a biography, so I absolutely jumped at the chance to read this one. Spending hours cracking up while watching Jay Leno’s ‘Headlines’ segment from The Tonight Show made me fall for this silly guy, and I figured his autobiography would be a fantastic read.

Well, I’m sorry to say I was wrong.

Yeah, the library barcode got in the way of his name. *sigh*

Title: ‘Leading With My Chin’

Author: Jay Leno

Pages: 278

Genre: Autobiography

Quick Summary: Jay Leno describes his life in detail as it relates to his career in comedy.

My Rating: 3/5

Where I Got It: From my local library, but I originally saw it on Jay’s Wikipedia page, which had quoted a line from it.

Why I Read It: Because I love Jay on The Tonight Show, as his sense of humor is similar to mine, and I really wanted a better look at who he is as a person.

Side note: I’m going to review and critique this book in the sane way I would tell a dear friend if I liked their book and/or why I didn’t. I’m not here to bash it, since I honestly do like Jay. I’m on this blog to review books, and this one definitely needs some reviewing. lol

My first issue is that I had orbital expectations for this novel. Never do that, dear readers. My hopes for this book far exceeded anything Jay could have possibly written, which was completely my fault. That aside, here’s a wee review.

Up until I read this book, my experience watching Jay was on The Tonight Show, where he was riffing off of hilarious headlines people sent in and making the stupidity or hilarity of those newspaper clippings infinitely funnier. I haven’t watched anything from his stand-up career, and hardly anything else from TTS aside from all the headlines. So, I’d only seen his sense of humor in one setting.

one of my all time favorite chapter titles.

This book starts when he was a child and goes alllllll the way through to his career on TTS. The first thing I noticed is that Jay ended up choosing the most outrageous moments from his earlier years to spotlight in the book. Perhaps his childhood really was that wild – in fact, I don’t doubt it – but the aura (or whatever), the viewpoint he gave on his past seemed almost too crazy to be true.

I got the sense that he was building tales off of what actually happened, which certainly would’ve livened up his life’s story, but I personally don’t take a liking to slap-stick comedy. I really liked watching him build on the funny headlines, because I’ll use improvisational/observational comedy in the same way: enhancing the mundane aspects of everyday life. (This recent post on my other blog is proof of that.) Of course, I don’t think comedians are limited or restricted to one form of comedy – I think all comedians, myself included, tinker in various types … I suppose I just didn’t realize Jay would go down the slap-stick road.

Perhaps he had trouble transferring his comedy to page? (I would with my own.)

The thing that ended up making me stop reading the book a third of the way through were Jay’s recounts of his first comedy gigs. I won’t go into detail (like he did…), but let’s just say he wasn’t on stage for a G-rated audience. I don’t like reading stuff like that, but he went through it, so I guess he needed to talk it out haha

So, yes, I did finish this book … I just skimmed through the last two-thirds. I gave it several chances.

Do I Recommend It?: Not really. Sorry, Jay. I still love ya!


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