Detroit to Jay Leno: We will drop dead without your jokes


Wasn’t that long ago when I was talking about how the front page story (online) of the Detroit  Free Press highlighting how we could now read even more hot and steamy text messages from our disgraced ex-mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was a serious waste of space, time, and journalistic talent that could have been used on much more important – and critical – issues affecting this city. Pick an issue. Any issue.

Any issue except Jay Leno. Please.

Because this brings me to my next rant, which is Detroit City Councilwoman Martha Reeves’ determination to have comedian Jay Leno come to Detroit. For those who may not have been following this pathetic little story, Leno decided to do something nice for metro Detroit – which he knows is going through more hell than the hell currently being experienced by the rest of the nation – and give a free live performance. The performance will take place at the Palace of Auburn Hills on April 7.

Far as I’m concerned – and I’m pretty sure the rest of Detroit is concerned – that’s just fine. It’s a nice gesture by the Tonight Show host, and we appreciate it. But no. Martha is highly agitated that Leno is not going to be doing his performance in Detroit proper. In other words, why the hell is Jay Leno going to those damned suburbs?


Well, Martha, probably because that’s where most of  his audience is located. Out there in them damned suburbs. Now if Steve Harvey said he was coming to do a free show but then announced he was gonna do it at the Palace, there would be serious hell to pay. Why? Because Harvey is black, nearly 90 percent of Detroit’s residents are black, and Harvey is hugely popular here as he is in just about every other urban area where there are a bunch of us jammed up together.

This is not at all to suggest that no black people in Detroit watch the Tonight Show, because that would be a huge lie. I know some of us watch him. Hell, I like the guy. But it doesn’t take a huge leap to guess that most of Jay’s folks aren’t located within the city limits. That’s one thing. Second? Who cares if Jay is performing in Auburn Hills instead of the Joe Louis Arena? Any Detroiters who want to see the man can do the same thing that everyone else will be doing, namely getting in their cars and driving their butts up there. Not really that complicated.

You wanna go see Jay? Go see Jay. You wanna stay home and do something else? Then do that. But please don’t make this into a worthless issue about how Jay Leno is snubbing the poor people of Detroit because he’s doing his show at the Palace and not at the Joe. Because the rest of us in Detroit have real problems to work through. Strangely enough, they are the problems we elected Ms. Reeves and her co-workers to solve for us.

Now there’s a good joke for Jay…


~ by Keith A. Owens on March 17, 2009.

2 Responses to “Detroit to Jay Leno: We will drop dead without your jokes”

  1. Your post is right on the mark, my friend. Why can’t politicians, as whatever level, work for their constituents? We have Reeves and Conyers making a suburbs vs. Detroit (best case) or white vs. black (worst case) situation out of a random act of kindness.

    Politicians in both Detroit and the suburbs need to wake up the to the regional reality. And voters need to start voting on whether they’ve gotten any benefit rather than just party line or re-electing incumbents.

    I think Conyers and Reeves are trying to bring back the days of the “hostile suburbs”. I don’t think this helps the city or the region.

    • Cynical,

      Thanks much for the comments, my friend. Sounds like you’re as fed up with all this mess as I am, and I think you’re absolutely right that Conyers and Reeves are falling back on that tired old tactic of us-vs-them. That has GOT to stop if we’re gonna have any hope at all of making any progress as a REGION.

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