A Visit with Former Tonight Show Producer Dave Berg

July 22, 2014 5:53 AM

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Q: Why write a book now? A: Now that The Tonight Show with Jay Leno has run its course, I thought a memoir about this iconic American institution would be interesting for people who watched the show. While the show was running, such a book would not have been appropriate for competitive reasons. But now that the show is over, I thought people would want to know how it got put together, and what it was like to be backstage. I also didn't want television critics and pundits to have the last word about Jay. They favor David Letterman. They've never been kind to Jay, and they've never given him credit for the great comedic genius he is. The Kennedy Center recently announced that Jay will receive its 2014 Mark Twain Prize for American humor. No other late-night host has ever been the recipient of this high honor. But most people don't even know about it because the major critics had no reaction to this story. Can you imagine if Dave had gotten the prize? We'd be hearing about it from now until Dave goes off the air in 2015. By the way, I happen to like Dave. I'm only talking about the critics here.

Q: What is the most surprising thing about Jay Leno that most of us don't know about? A: I suppose it's no secret that Jay fostered a true family environment at the show, despite all of the tensions and problems we dealt with over the years. But people might not know that after the Northridge earthq...

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