Leno’s Most Popular Joke Target: Bill Clinton

Jay Leno told almost 44,000 jokes as host of “The Tonight Show,” and according to a recent study, one out of ten of his quips were about Bill Clinton.

The Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University, which tracks late-night humor, said that Clinton was the target of 4,607 jokes, followed by George W. Bush at 3,239 and Al Gore at 1,026. The top 20 list includes the past four presidents (Barack Obama was No. 4) and the past six also-rans for president.

The top celebrity target was O.J. Simpson, with 795 jokes, followed by Michael Jackson at 505 and Martha Stewart at 208.

The center said that Democrats were the targets of 10,885 jokes, compared to 9,465 for Republicans. Is that evidence of a Leno bias? Not really. The center’s Robert Lichter suggested that the Monica Lewinsky scandal tilted the numbers in Clinton’s favor, while Democrats occupied the White House for 13 of Leno’s 22 years as host of “The Tonight Show.”

Leno’s final show is Friday.

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