HomeLaughing matters: Leno tours campus as Hasty Pudding’s Man of the Year

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Jay Leno is used to having people from all walks of life grace his couch. On Friday (Feb. 4), the host of “The Tonight Show” took a turn on the hot seat as a guest of President Drew Faust in Massachusetts Hall.

Leno was on campus to be crowned the Hasty Pudding Theatricals’ 2011 Man of the Year, an honor he now shares with all-star entertainers including Clint Eastwood, Bob Hope, and last year’s winner, Justin Timberlake. It was a homecoming of sorts for the Andover, Mass., native, who got his start in stand-up comedy at the Nameless Coffeehouse on nearby Church Street.

Back in his undergraduate days at theater-centric Emerson College, Leno said, “stand-up was not considered an art form.” It was a bit of a shock, then, to find the late-night guru dropping in on Faust nearly four decades later as part of a campus tour led by Pudding writers DJ Smolinsky ’11 and Gus Hickey ’11. The president and Leno swapped stories of Jimmy Tingle, a fellow comedian who received a degree from the Harvard Kennedy School last year and spoke at Commencement.

“I think we should have a stand-up routine at every Commencement,” Faust told Leno.

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