As Jay Leno prepares for the final weeks of hosting "The Tonight Show," we decided to turn back the clocks to 1992 when Leno first got his break. He was just 41 years old and was about to inherit the coveted chair from the “King of Late Night” Johnny Carson.
Before that, Leno had been working the stand-up comedy circuit, town by town in clubs and strip joints across the country. He had also struggled to break into the acting business, appearing in a number of forgettable B-movies and television pilots.
Leno remembers one casting director who told him his jaw was too long. “He says, 'What we need to do is break it and then rehang it,'” recalls Leno. Acting didn’t work out for Leno, needless to say. But in 1992, he managed to nab the spot that everyone from David Letterman to Joan Rivers wanted, as the host of the iconic Tonight Show.
Just before he took over the show, Leno appeared on 60 Minutes, interviewed by a young Steve Kroft, who was only three years into his tenure on the broadcast. (A slightly edited version of that original profile can be viewed in the above video player.)
When Kroft asked Leno whether he felt any pressure, Leno responded, “I don't really worry about anything, you know? My blood pressure's like zero over zero.”
To see where Leno’s blood pressure is at today, after NBC unceremoniously asked him to leave his Tonight Show post for the second time, watch the full 60 Minutes episode.