Howard Stern Calls Leno a ‘Crook,’ Jay’s Fans ‘Morons’

by | January 17, 2011 at 11:36 AM | Cable News, TV News

Howard Stern, Jay Leno (Photo: Kevin Winter/Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

Howard Stern, Jay Leno (Photo: Kevin Winter/Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

What exactly is Howard Stern’s beef with Jay Leno? That question arises every time Stern blasts Leno on his own Sirius radio show or in an interview with someone else.

Howard goes after Jay yet again this week, when the shock jock appears on Piers Morgan’s new CNN interview show Tuesday night (9/8c). On the show, Stern calls the “Tonight Show” host “insane” and labels him “a crook,” according to a story in the New York Post.

“The world knows exactly what [Jay’s] up to,” Stern thunders in the pre-taped interview on “Piers Morgan Tonight.” “He steals a tremendous amount of material.”

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Stern goes on to compare Leno unfavorably with David Letterman. “He’s not fit to scrub David Letterman’s feet!” rants Stern, who then turns his ire on Leno’s fans. “I don’t know how he’s beaten David Letterman in the ratings. It’s beyond my comprehension. America must be filled with morons who at night lay in bed – the ones who are watching him, they must be in a coma.”

If Stern backs up his accusation that Leno steals material with examples of his alleged theft, the New York Post story doesn’t say so – which means we’ll all have to tune in to see if Stern specifies what Jay supposedly stole.

Maybe Morgan got Stern to shed some light on why he hates Jay so much. Though Stern’s history as a guest on Letterman’s late-night shows stretches back farther than Stern’s acquaintanceship with Leno, there was a time when Stern seemed perfectly happy to appear on either of the men’s shows.

There are those who say Stern is still miffed by Leno’s hiring of one of his guys, John Melendez, as “Tonight Show” announcer in 2004. It’s been said that Stern thought the hire was underhanded, particularly because Leno never contacted Stern to run it by him first.

Well, if that’s the reason to badmouth Jay repeatedly for years on end, then that’s Howard’s business. It just doesn’t sound to us like the loss of John Melendez should continue to wound Stern so deeply nearly seven years later.

So what’s really going on here? Any theories as to why Stern hates Leno so much? Are his feelings sincere? Or is Howard just drumming up controversy to draw attention to Tuesday’s interview?