When Jay Leno made the opening speech at Sunday’s 28th annual Love Ride, a motorcycle event in Glendale, CA, he made a joke that “I wanna see somebody go down.” Little did he know that an hour later, what he joked about would actually happen, with tragic results.
According to the Los Angeles Times (which has the audio of his opening speech), Leno, who was the ride’s grand marshal, made a crack to the gathered bikers that “Every year, (the event host) says, ‘Drive safe.’ I’m gonna say, ‘Don’t drive safe.’ I wanna see somebody go down. So it’ll be fun. I want it to be in front or behind me and see a whole row of bikes go down. Get drunk, fall off the road. We’ve all become too damn polite … we haven’t had one incident.”
One hour later, Romarino Zeri and Julie Cameron were killed when their bike collided with a tractor trailer on the Golden State Freeway. The “Tonight Show” host did not return the paper’s requests for comment, but, considering that Jay’s been an ally of the biking community for many years, this incident has to hurt. According to the Times, one Love Ride participant said that Jay would “feel really bad for his comments,” and the North Hollywood-Toluca Lake Patch site said that Leno was being taken to task for his remarks.
But bad timing should not be confused for bad taste; if no accidents happened during a ride that has been fairly safe in recent years, no one would have even taken note of the joke. Let’s hope Leno addresses this tragedy at some point in the near future.
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