Promise me that after you read this item, you won’t pester Jay Leno’s staff with a boring idea that could put his late-night audience to sleep.
If you watch Leno, like I do, you know his “correspondents” travel far and wide to fun events where they can film whacky segments, from John Melendez going belly-to-belly with bikers at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally to “Sopranos” man Steve Schirripa floor-hopping to see what’s being sold at Las Vegas conventions.
On Sept. 9-11, when the Toy & Game Inventors Forum meets in Orlando, Florida, Leno’s crew will be there, filming inventors with their most outlandish creations. When I first heard about the taping, I contacted Bob Keegan, director of the Toy & Game Industry Foundation, to find out how they pulled off the publicity coup.
The whole thing started last year when someone from Keegan’s staff called “The Tonight Show” on a whim, asked for a segment producer and was put through to a guy named Justin.
A crew visited the toy and game show for two days, interviewed several inventors, wrote the entire comedy sketch themselves, then packed up their equipment and headed back to Burbank, California, and aired the segment.
“As a result,” Bob said, “one of the guys got a 30,000-piece order for his toy within a couple of days.”
But the segment attracted more than just buyers. This year, someone from “The Late Show” with David Letterman called, asking if they, too, could send someone to the event.
“We had to turn them down,” Bob said.
If you’re sponsoring a special event that seems like it’s custom-made for Leno or Letterman, keep these two late-night TV shows in mind. “The Tonight Show” also wants to hear about teens who can do weird stunts for its “Teenage Wasteland” segments.
Letterman, of course, is always on the lookout for four-legged Hounds and other pets for its “Stupid Pet and Human Trick” segments. They’re holding regional auditions during the next few months in Austin, Texas; Memphis, Tennessee; and Tulsa, Oklahoma.