Reiser saves face with “Tonight Show” appearance

By Tom Comi

Nothing can be more embarrassing to an actor than having a show canceled after only two episodes, and nobody knows that better than Paul Reiser, after the sitcom bearing his name was yanked off the air last week by NBC.

In what could have been a salt-in-the wound moment Monday, Reiser was booked to appear on NBC’s The Tonight Show before The Paul Reiser Show was given the hook. But being the subtle comedian he is, Reiser turned the appearance into one of the funnier segments we have seen in a long time on late-night television.

In another ironic twist, Reiser followed Christina Aguilera, who was also there to promote a new NBC show, The Voice. So what transpired was a guest (Reiser) who felt like his show wasn’t promoted enough by NBC venting to a host (Leno) who was put through the ringer by the same network that also airs the new singing competition featuring Aguilera as one of the judges.

Leno (to Reiser): “Last week you were booked to come here to talk about your new show.”

Reiser (to Leno): “Friday, they canceled the show. NBC, to my knowledge, they don’t traditionally make bad decisions. Have you heard that? I don’t know what your experience is. I don’t take it personally, because it’s a business decision. NBC is a big company. When you’re the last-place network, you don’t want to jeopardize that. You found your niche, stay there. God bless them.”

Leno (to Aguilera): “Good luck at NBC.”

Aguilera (to Leno and Reiser): “Now that you’ve scared the crap out of me.”

Reiser (to Aguilera): “The reason they didn’t promote our show is because it all went to you.”

Mind you, this was all said in a joking tone, but Reiser was obviously hurt by what he perceived to be poor promotion of his show. And as funny as it was for viewers, the last thing the Peacock Network needed after the way it dropped the ball on the Leno/Conan situation was to ruffle even more feathers.


Credit: Chris Haston/NBC