Chris Leak scores 'The Tonight Show'

From left: Jewel, Chris Leak, Jay Leno and Ben Affleck pose at the end of ‘The Tonight Show’ Tuesday, a day after Leak and the University of Florida football team won the BCS National Championship.

Published: Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 at 11:24 p.m.

Chris Leak's appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on Tuesday had the Gator Nation living up to its name for the second night in a row — and Leno becoming one of its biggest supporters with a barrage of BCS Championship Game humor.


Leno joinsthe Gator NationJay Leno opened "The Tonight Show" on Tuesday with several jokes about Monday's rout of Ohio State by the Gators including the following:

  • "The score was 41-14. 41 to 14! That's like a Michael Jackson date."
  • "Apparently Ohio State thought it was the Siesta Bowl."
  • "To paraphrase our good friend Larry the Cable Guy: Gate-er Done. I guess you could say that: Gate-er Done."
  • "In fact, it was so bad (Monday) that President Bush offered to send 20,000 additional players to Ohio."

The TV host filled his opening monologue with a barrage of jokes at Ohio State University's expense and later welcomed Leak onstage with a hug for an eight-minute interview segment toward the end of Tuesday's show.

"We've been going and going; The Gator fans are crazy," Leak said about the University of Florida's celebration after winning Monday night's game. "I heard Gainesville was going nuts!" Leak was relaxed, polished and even funny during his appearance, while Leno was both wiseguy and straight interviewer, asking the MVP quarterback about the boos some fans had given him earlier in the season.

"You go through adversity throughout your career," Leak said on the show's couch, while seated between Leno and first guest Ben Affleck. "But the main thing I tried to do was stay cool … (and) never lose focus on the goal, and that's to win the national title."

Leno also ensured the spot had some humor, however — at one point bringing up Leak's one-time pledge not to date until Florida won a title.

"You made that pledge in your freshman year, and you have now graduated," Leno said. "That's some willpower."

"Well, back then, Ben (Affleck) had taken every girl in Florida," Leak joked. "I really didn't have any choice."

Quipped Leno: "Well, it must have been a hell of a date last night."

If Leno's opening monologue was any indication, Gator fans might've sworn the TV host hailed from Florida. The first several minutes of his 10-minute opening monologue was all Florida all the time.

"Ohio State was down 20 points at halftime," Leno said. "I don't want to say their fans gave up, but did you hear the song the Ohio State marching band played at half-time? Show (the tape)," he said. "This is real: It's the theme from 'Titanic.' "

"Is that the song that you play when you're down 20?! That's a real inspiring tune."

"But actually, it was a pretty big year for Florida," Leno said. "They won the NCAA Basketball Championship and now the BCS Football Championship," Leno said. "I guess the only thing Florida didn't score well in was ballot counting."

Leno also introduced an early segment with comedian Tom Papa, who attended Monday's game and conducted such parking lot contests between opposing fans as "beer can smashing on foreheads," and "ice cooler butt cooling" in which fans from each team had to drop trousers and sit with their uncovered derrieres in a cooler filled with ice water (Papa pointed out that the Ohio State fan was wearing Scooby Doo underwear).

The beer-can smashing contest featured an Ohio State fan named Bill, and a bare-chested, Florida fan with a face covered in orange-and-blue makeup that Papa called "Braveheart."

After the fearsome-looking Braveheart quickly vanquished his opponent, Papa joked, "Well, that was surprising."

Bill Dean can be reached at 374-5039 or

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