"Welcome to California - now a division of Ringling Brothers!"
Leno barked. "Welcome to NBC's newest reality show -- 'Last Candidate Standing'."
He teased the audience that he couldn't wait any longer; "Arnold's not coming."
Then added that surveying the field of candidates, "I can't help but think how proud I am...to be from Massachusetts."
Each candidate was given 10 seconds to say how they'd run the state - but
because time was limited, "You all have to answer at the same time."
Saying the resulting din was more informative than a candidate debate,
Leno quipped that California had more gubenatorial candidates than there were registered voters.
Leno kept the jokes coming - especially about the porn star
candidate. "I thought Marey Carey had brought her favorite sex toy.
It turns out it was just Gary Coleman." NBC liked that joke so much,
they used it to promote the show earlier in the evening.
But Leno saved a jab for the reporters waiting in what he'd dubbed the "Geraldo" room.
"Hey guys, it could be worse. You could be covering Gray Davis!"
He'd even saved a clip of Gray Davis, saying "We have people from every planet on the earth in
this state." Every planet? Leno wondered. "Apparently this illegal alien thing is worse
than we thought!"
The Tonight Show wasn't allowed to show close-ups of the
candidates, Leno claimed -- unless they were being made fun of. So
as the camera zoomed in on the unsuspecting governor candidates, Leno
zapped them with a zinger.
Sumo wrestler Kurt E. Rightmyer? "He wants to cut the fat off the
budget - so he can eat it!"
Used car salesman Mike P. McCarthy? "He spent his whole career
lying his butt off just to prepare for Sacramento!"
Far-out looking film producer Abner
Zurd? "Will reduce spending by continuing to do her own hair!"
Dr. Ronald J. Friedman? As a doctor, he'll do what Sacramento's been doing for years -- "Except
he'll lubricate his finger first!"
Friedman looked a little nervous. "I'm afraid to say anthing," Leno joked, "that guy looks like a
Golf pro Paul "Chip" Mailander. "He's so dum, he thinks elections are
like golf - low score wins!"
Candidate Robert A. Dole "has as much chance of winning as the real Bob Dole!"
Former child star Gary Coleman got teased about the less-glamorous jobs
he's held since. "Gary's an expert in national security -- and mall
security, grocery security, parking lot security....."
"She has the only hole on the ballot that's already been punched."
When Robert Downey Jr. came on the show later, he joked that he was also
announcing his candidacy. Leno said he could dash his hopes with just two words.
After the commerical break, Leno joked that they'd already dropped from
90 to 88 candidates. Gallagher had walked off in a huff, he said -- while the
PCP candidate had to leave for a crisis in Barstow.
And "the marijuana candidate" had apparently forgotten to show up....
By the way, here's a handy list of all the candidates' web sites!