From The Sketch Book

April 6, 2009

Jay Leno Uh Oh

Filed under: Uncategorized — scottnelson @ 6:25 pm

Back in the early 90’s I was pretty ambitious. Working 30 hours a week at night while I worked 40 hours plus at the studio during the day.  All in an effort to keep my doors open and carve out a niche for myself in the Massachusetts art community.

At the time, a local radio station  (WAAF) was  located a few streets down from the office building I was in.  They were always very kind in giving me some work.  From T-shirt designs of their “on air” personalities to POP’s signs for their “on location” booths. The drawing assignments were always something unique and fun.  One particular assignment was very small (I think I drew a speaker saying LETS ROCK!”) So instead of receiving a nominal fee, they offered me four tickets to see the stand-up comedian Jay Leno.  I was a big fan of Jay myself  long before he was on the tonight show so that was an awesome payment for me.

jay-leno-2The day before the show, I did a pretty elaborate cariacature drawing of Jay and  then came up with the crazy idea that I might actually be able to present it to him from the radio station. (I know…pretty sneaky.)  On arrival to the concert hall an hour before the show was to begin, I went to a predetermined location to retrieve will call tickets. It was there, art in hand that I asked if I could present Jay my drawing.  A rather mean woman took it from me and said “I’ll see if I can get this to him but there is NO WAY you can go backstage to meet him.”  My heart sank.  Since this wasn’t really an official WAAF job but rather my own sleep deprived effort of meeting my favorite comedian, what could I do?  I simply found my way to the nose bleed seats and pouted figuring Jay would never get it.  About 15 minutes before the curtain was to go up, a woman’s voice came over the P.A. system and announced, “Will the Artist from WAAF please come to Stage door B.”  My wife poked me and said, ” Hey Scott, that’s YOU! You’re the WAAF artist!!!”   Totally shocked I found my way to the stage area and the once mean woman I’d  previously given the art to was now very pleasant. She happily said, ” Hurry up, Hurry up! Jay wants to meet you!!!”    I won’t bore you with all the meet and great details but lets just say there was a lot of me just nodding up and down and smiling at Mr. Leno.  To paint an even better image, picture the movie A Christmas Story. The scene in which Ralphie finally makes it to Santa to tell him he wants a Red Rider B B gun but instead freezes and just looks at Mr. Claus bewildered.   That was me.   Anyho, Jay couldn’t have been cooler  even if I wasn’t especially talkative back. He did ask me why I drew him on a sports bike though.  “Well,  I’m a big fan and I know you like motorcycles”, I stammered out.   Jay laughed and said,” Well, I do like motorcycles but  Harley’s, Indians and Triumphs_ Not these things.”      UGH!

So, that particular night was a roller coaster of emotion for me. And here’s the photo evidence  of my brush with comedic greatness to prove it.  Funny thing…. if you look at Jay’s face, you can actually see his disgust of being depicted on a Ninja instead of a Sportster. Or at least I can see it.  I’m sure the art went in the trash.  Or did it?    Jay—- are you out there?


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