Maybe Leno should stop throwing stones at Stockton

April 22, 2013 

For Stockton, there's no escaping the wrath of Jay Leno. "Stockton Bankruptcy" jokes are peppering his monologues almost nightly. Many are, as Atlantic magazine once described Leno's general comedic repertoire, "groan worthy."

"Stockton is even price gouging at the 99 Cent Stores." ... "Lindsay Lohan won't shoplift there." ... "The city's founding father wants a paternity test."

Even with joke writers doing the work, that's the best he's got? Ah, but giving credit where it's due, a couple of Leno's digs were first-rate: "You know what they call 'Here Comes Honey Boo Boo' in Stockton? 'Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.' "

"Stockton is so broke, their meth labs just give out Sudafed."

But there are so many things that Leno does not realize about Stockton. It's our civic duty to make him more informed.

So, in honor of a more-talented talk-show host, David Letterman, here are the Top 10 things about which Jay Leno is Stockton-ignorant:

• No. 10: There are many fine restaurants here — excellent places to dine. But Leno would likely choose to break bread at Burger King. His comedy was once described by a more talented talk-show host, Jimmy Kimmel, as, "A master chef who has opened a Burger King."

• No. 9: We do have crime, and some of it is committed with knives. None of the knife wounds, however, compare with the one Leno administered to a more-talented talk-show host, Conan O'Brien.

• No. 8: Many of Stockton's fiscal troubles can be traced to poor economic decisions made in the past. Stockton was its own worst enemy. Bad financial decisions come in many forms including, say, NBC needing to fork over $45 million to O'Brien and his staff upon departure to clean up Leno's mess.

• No. 7: Bankruptcy? That's so 1994. That was the year Leno's neighboring Orange County declared bankruptcy — giving a new meaning to the phrase "I'm going to Disneyland."

• No. 6: One of the prides of Stockton is the late, great actress Janet Leigh, who was born in Merced but grew up in Stockton. Her five-decade career included such memorable movies as "Psycho," "The Manchurian Candidate" and "Little Women." You have to appreciate her grace and excellence and how it comparatively overshadows Leno's movie credits of "Fun With Dick and Jane," "Scooby-Doo and the Goblin King" and "Polyester."

• No. 5: There's culture in Stockton from a symphony to a civic theater to the Brubeck Institute and more. We're just a short jaunt from Sierra Repertory Theatre in Columbia and its shows at Fallon House — which, by the way, is not named for a more-talented talk-show host, Jimmy Fallon.

• No. 4: Stockton is home to the University of the Pacific, Stockton Arena, Stockton Ballpark and Burns Tower — all of which are smaller than Leno's chin.

• No. 3: Stockton doesn't do well in "ratings" — just ask the folks at Forbes. But we'd hope Leno's fifth-rated NBC network (behind ABC, CBS, Fox and Telemundo) could empathize with our plight, unless it's too busy trying to hold off Encore and The Golf Channel.

• No. 2: Stocktonians can make excellent comparisons. For instance: Johnny Carson is to Jay Leno as Jay Leno is to Andrew Dice Clay.

• And the No. 1 Thing Jay Leno Should Know About Stockton: We are so genuinely nice and sophisticated that we wouldn't urinate on Leno and his Stockton jokes even if he were a fire hydrant.

Wait. He once did play the role of a fire hydrant. In the movie "Robots." That changes everything.

Mike Klocke is the editor of The Record; contact him at mklocke@recordnet.com.

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