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Jay Leno, Night 2: Tom Cruise does not go nuts, Michael Moore condemns capitalism

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The centerpiece of Jay Leno’s second night was his interview with Michael Moore, out promoting Capitalism: A Love Story, and if there’s one 10 p.m. late-night host who can make the sentiment “capitalism is legalized greed” palatable for middle America, it’s Jay. Enthusiastic about the movie because (why else?) “it’s non-partisan” — Leno is nothing if not an equal-opportunity non-offender — he gave Moore an endorsement (“Ya gotta see this film!”) plus the chance to warble an a capella version of “The Times They Are A-Changin.'” Now that’s something you’ll never see on one of those 10 p.m. scripted dramas Leno is replacing, and jolly good for him.

And while the live-by-satellite Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz were cute answering questions in the “10 at 10” segment (which aired at 10:25 p.m., by the way), the rest of Leno’s second night was book-ended with excruciating comedy.

Leno’s post-monologue segment was given over to “Jim Norton, Uninvited Guest,” in which the stand-up comic sits down and tells lame jokes  whose punchlines are illustrated with photos so we’ll be sure to “get it.” I’d have been insulted if I wasn’t so bored.

To close out the show, Leno did one of his taking-the-camera-out-of-the-studio bits. But unlike, say, “Jaywalking,” which seems reasonably spontaneous, Leno’s gimmick this night — knocking on doors and asking people if he could help them get ready for 10 p.m. — was ludicrously staged. In fact, at one house, he brought in Ludacris to sing with an amateur singer-songwriter.

After the ratings blow-out of his opening night-plus-Kanye, I’m really curious to see the stats on this one: I want to see the ratings breakdowns by segment, and how far they fell starting with Jim Norton’s comedy bit.

Did you watch The Jay Leno Show for a second night? What did you think?

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