“Laugh and the world laughs with you,” goes the old saw, while another proclaims that “Laughter is the best medicine.” Comedian and talk show host Jay Leno is betting that his “Comedy Stimulus Plan” will provide just what Detroit needs. The fanatic car collector is planning to launch his tour with a free events for tens of thousands of unemployed workers, in Motown, on April 7th.
He hopes to take his tour to other cities hard-hit by the recession, he added, during an interview with the Detroit Free Press, during the taping of his nightly Tonight Show. “I just started in Detroit because, obviously, I’m a big fan of the automotive field,” said Leno, adding that, “All these men and women who are getting laid off, it’s not their fault. They’re making a good product. They’re working hard. It’s just the idea that most people don’t have an entertainment dollar.”
It’s not the first time Leno has offered his services – for free. He held a number of performances in Las Vegas, immediately after 9/11, when the travel and entertainment industry was in the doldrums.
The lantern-jawed comedian isn’t the only one to be speaking out for Detroit – or taking action to rally the troops, so to speak. Another free concert is being planned for May by country singer John Rich, whose “Shutting Down Detroit” has become something of an anthem for the embattled Motor City.
And Rosie O’Donnell, who has been speaking up for the Big Three and its workers, plans to shift more of her film projects to Motown, which is benefiting from a new tax program designed to lure Hollywood producers.