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Jay Leno's Favorite Target Was ... Bill Clinton

Jay Leno's Favorite Target Was ... Bill Clinton
NBC

For all the talk about the "liberal media" (both news and entertainment) favoring Democratic candidates, you'd think a West Coast comedian like Jay Leno would practically be an honorary party chairman.

But Leno embraced former Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, his friend, and always gave a warm, respectful platform to presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush.

And now a new survey finds that Leno's Tonight Show era had a favorite target over the years:

Former President Bill Clinton.

That's right, the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University crunched the numbers and found that Clinton, the Democrats' demigod, was ... 

 ...  Leno's top political joke target over the past two decades, attracting one out of every 10 jokes in his monologues ... 

Leno is handing The Tonight Show over to Jimmy Fallon, who will move it to New York for a Feb. 17 kick-off. Leno's last show airs Friday.

Of course, it didn't hurt Clinton's rank that he had an oral affair with an intern while in office. It was a gift to the likes of Leno and other denizens of the early a.m.

The folks at George Mason looked at 43,892 jokes about public figures and public affairs from 1992, when Leno became the show's permanent host, through late January.

Clinton racked up 4,607 Leno jokes, the researchers found. Professor Robert Lichter said, "Leno's monologues focused on power and scandal, and Bill Clinton was the top twofer."

Democrats were the target of 15 percent more jokes than Republicans. To be fair - Clinton held office from 1992 to 2000, Bush from 2000 to 2008 and Obama from 2008 until now - Democrats have seen more time (13 of 22 years) in office during Leno's stint.

Here's the full list of Leno's favorite political targets (the number of jokes is at the right):

1. Bill Clinton 4,607

2. George W. Bush 3,239

3. Al Gore 1,026

4. Barack Obama 1,011

5. Hillary Clinton 939

6. Dick Cheney 673

7. Monica Lewinsky 454

8. Bob Dole 452

9. John McCain 426

10. Mitt Romney 361

11. John Kerry 357

12. George H.W. Bush 343

13. Newt Gingrich 328

14. Sarah Palin 300

15. Ross Perot 288

15. Arnold Schwarzenegger 288

17. Joe Biden 274

18. Dan Quayle 260

19 John Edwards 229

20. Osama bin Laden 216


Here's the list of his favorite celebrity targets (the number of jokes is at the right):


1. O.J. Simpson 795

2. Michael Jackson 505

3. Martha Stewart 208

4. Paris Hilton 153

5. Lindsay Lohan 153

6. Robert Blake 121

7. Anna Nicole Smith 55

8. Roger Clemens 50

9. Tonya Harding 49

9. Alex Rodriguez 49

11. Heidi Fleiss 48

11. Charlie Sheen 48

13. Lance Armstrong 47

13. Michael Vick 47

15. Madonna 46

16. Justin Bieber 44

17. Brittany Spears 42

18. Kobe Bryant 38

18. Chris Brown 38

20. Kim Kardashian 37

Fallon has a little less to work with in President Obama. But if New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ever makes it to the White House, Fallon will be a lucky man.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.


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