Headlines (The Tonight Show)

Headlines (The Tonight Show)

"Headlines" is a segment on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" airing weekly. The segment usually airs on Monday, though at times it airs on Tuesday. It was first seen in 1987, when Jay Leno was still a guest host. Viewers submit funny newspaper headlines from all over the world.


*Odd names: Weird names for restaurants or other businesses (e.g. Hu Dat) or people (Phat Ho), or names that sound like obscenities in English (e.g. Ho Bich Nga in Vancouver, Canada).

*Does this make any sense? things that make little or no sense, "Homeless man put under house arrest", 'Supreme Court ponders whether innocent person can be executed".

*Weddings: Wedding announcements in the papers with bizarre name combinations, i.e. "Long-Short," "Hardey-Bouyes," etc.

*Typos: Words that are misspelled and thus have a new meaning, i.e. "land of milk and "hiney"," "Thompson's Penis a Sword" (meant Tommy Thompson's "pen is" a sword), "It was the incest little car" (meant "it was the nicest little car"), and "Martian Luther King Day".

*Mispositioned photos: Pictures, taken by professional photographers, with bizarre positioning. Examples include people with things positioned behind them to look like their noses are growing, and a man placed in front of a tree in the distance, thus making it look like he has an afro. Strange drawings also turn up - one of these was an advertisement for a production of "The Nutcracker" which made it unintentionally seem as if the Nutcracker were about to sexually mount the "prima ballerina" "doggie style" or photos that seem not to have anything to do with the subject (photo of cheerleaders jumping for article on firefighters), or maps that have wrong places named, such as Boston, Massachusetts located in India. One particular example showed a "Suspect Sought in Robbery" next to a picture of Jay himself taken while he was performing at a comedy club. (Jay: I got a good look at him officer. He was "very" handsome.)

*Mispositioned ads: Advertisements that have been placed next to each other that do not take into account what will be suggested when placed together. An example of this includes two separate advertisements that make it appear than a man has a tire growing out of his head.

*Photos with inappropriate objects: Items sometimes appear in photos which do not belong. Examples include a picture of Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck with a black hand on Ben's shoulder and a picture of Jennifer Connelly wearing a shirt with two buttons positioned in a way that, in black-and-white, look like nipples.

*Models used in multiple ads: A photo of a model or models sometimes appear in multiple advertisements for different products or services in the same publication.

*Strange products: Either obvious rip-offs ($100 for a gymnastic stick, "send in $100 to learn how to make money at home"-type ads), strange and useless innovations (a marshmallow spinner for campfires), or normal products with odd descriptions (kosher Easter candy).

*Menu items: Sometimes, restaurants have items on their menu with strange, sometimes unwittingly obscene names, i.e. "Poo Thong", "Cream of Sum Yung Gui" or "Fuk Kin Fried Rice." Often the menus will be completely mistranslated from a foreign language, making the results sound humorous (i.e. "Consumny gaw, or undercookel meats may increase your risk of foodbone illness, especially if you have cestain medical conditions").

*Clothing for Animals: Described by Jay as something he "hates," shows items, usually from a catalog, meant to be worn by a pet, usually a cat or a dog. Jay usually says that they are ridiculous because the animal would refuse to wear the item, and the owner would likely be attacked if he or she attempted to dress the pet. Jay usually says "Your dog(or cat) is not going to wear that!"

*Dumb criminals: Often described by Jay as something he "loves," they tell stories of criminals who make "dumb" mistakes, i.e. criminals who showed ID when asked, held their hands in front of their faces to disguise themselves, and showing their picture on America's Most Wanted for ID. On several occasions, there have been stupid victims. A man reported his bicycle stolen. When the police got there, they found what appeared to be a bicycle chain combination near the bicycle rack. When asked, the victim claimed he left the combination there in case he forgot it. Another stupid victim, when told that the man who robbed him had been arrested for burglary, complained that he had not wanted the man arrested for burglary, but for breaking in and stealing his stuff.

*Police blotter: Police radio transcripts and local police logs with strange items ('a woman calling in to report that she had a stupid husband' and 'chicken at large'), possible typos (donuts found loitering in a field), or misunderstanding the problem (man mistakes a gun for a birthday cake, boy calling Help which was the name for his cat). Jay usually reads this in a stern tone of voice, like that of a police officer.

*Dual meanings: Headlines with phrasing that gives a different meaning than what the author intended, i.e. "Fat kids make huge impact" or "Condom found in bag of nuts."

*What Do You Think?: Newspapers often ask people about controversial issues. Non sequitur responses are sent in, i.e. a college student asked about the gay marriage debate replies that he hasn't thought about it because he just woke up, and a man with a cigarette hanging from his mouth disapproves of cell phone towers because they "give you cancer." One man responds to the question "whether the high price of gas would ruin their vacation" with "No, because I'm going to jail." Another woman was asked what she was doing to protect the environment. She replied, "Someone stole my car, so now I don't drive."


Since the early 1980s, David Letterman has been doing a similar segment called "Small Town News" (albeit on and off) on "Late Night" and "The Late Show". Conan O'Brien parodies "Headlines" on Late Night in a segment called Actual Items, which uses advertisements purposefully doctored by the show's prop and writing staffs.


Leno released several compilations of Headlines during the late 1980s and early 1990s:
*"Headlines: Real but Ridiculous Headlines from America's Newspapers"
*"More Headlines"
*"Headlines III: Not The Movie, Still The Book"
*"Headlines IV: The Next Generation"
*"Jay Leno's Police Blotter: Real-Life Crime Headlines"

Wil B. Strange includes "personal ads from the book 'Jay Leno's Headlines'" in an issue of "Campus Life". [Wil B. Strange, "Strange World," "Campus Life" 53.4 (Nov94): 78.]


External links

* [http://www.nbc.com/The_Tonight_Show_with_Jay_Leno/headlines/ Archive of "Headlines"]

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