Jay Leno in Hot Water With Catholic Group, While State Dept. Defends HIm

by | January 24, 2012 at 5:50 PM | The Tonight Show

Jay Leno (NBC)

It must be “Let’s Get Jay Leno!” week. After an Indian government official criticized the “Tonight Show” host for using the image of a sacred Sikh temple in a Mitt Romney joke, he is now being criticized for making jokes about an L.A.-area Catholic bishop on Monday’s show, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Now, this time there are a few caveats to this act of piling on. One, the bishop in question, Gabino Zavala, resigned because it was revealed that he had fathered two children teenage children. So there might be a bit of a basis for a few monologue jokes. Two, the Catholic group complaining about the jokes is The Catholic League and its president, Bill Donohue. Both are right up there with the Parents Television Council in using outrage as a publicity tool. Third, Monday’s show was a rerun from Jan. 5. Way to be speedy, Catholic League!

Donohue’s point is that it seems like it’s OK for Leno to make jokes about Catholic priests involved in sex scandals, but not other groups, like (his assertion, not ours) gays and Orthodox Jews. He took pains to say that jokes about all three groups would be offensive.

In the meantime, a State Department representative defended Leno in the face of the Sikh temple joke, says THR. “I hope [he will] be appreciative if we make the point that his comments are constitutionally protected in the United States under free speech and, frankly, they appeared to be satirical in nature,” said Victoria Nuland to BBC News.

Of course, the fact that anyone from the federal government needs to comment on it shows just how out of control Get Jay week has become. And it’s only Tuesday!

Here are the jokes from the Jan. 5 monologue:

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