Audiences might be used to staying up to the late hour of 11:30 p.m. for Jay Leno in the past, but Chautauquans can catch the comedian earlier when he performs at 8:15 p.m. Friday, July 22, in the Amphitheater.
It’s a familiar line-up for the Institution, as warming the crowd up for Leno is prolific blues guitarist Austin Walkin’ Cane with a performance starting at 7:30 p.m. tonight. It’s the same opener-headliner bill that debuted Chautauqua’s new Amp in 2017; while Aretha Franklin had been set for the first evening of that season, health concerns caused her to back out, and Leno stepped in as the replacement. With his opening act, Cane was the first musician to ever perform in the new Amp.
Now, five years later, both are back to show some love to Chautauqua’s biggest stage.
Leno famously hosted “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” which boasts four Emmys, 22 seasons and over 4,500 episodes.
In 2000, he also got his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Since the final episode of the show aired on Feb. 6, 2014, Leno has gone on to host “Jay Leno’s Garage” on CNBC where he gives car reviews, and has continued his stand-up comedy career — the skill that brought him to fame and his career as a television host.
Since Leno’s last visit, he has continued hosting “Jay Leno’s Garage,” which had its sixth season in 2021. The season featured guests like fellow car lover and comedian Tim Allen, entrepreneur Mark Cuban, and pop singer and host of her own television show Kelly Clarkson. All the while, Leno never stopped doing comedy, delivering around 200 shows a year.
“Comedy is funnier when you share it with other people,” Leno told the Daily in 2017. “I’m sure you can sit in a room and laugh by yourself watching something. But it’s not nearly as much fun as being in a crowded room and people are laughing around you.”