• The Hollywood Reporter on LinkedIn
  • Follow THR on Pinterest
FEB
5
6 MOS

Jay Leno's Top 'Tonight Show' Joke Targets: Bill Clinton, O.J. Simpson

A new study that tracks the comedian's 44,000 late-night punchlines since 1992 also lists George W. Bush, Michael Jackson and Martha Stewart as hot topics.

What He Will Miss Most
Austin Hargrave
Jay Leno

Over the past 22 years, the majority of Jay Leno's jokes have been about Bill Clinton — targeting the former president five times more than Hillary Clinton, and 10 times more than he mocked Monica Lewinsky. In other words, one out of every 10 jokes in his Tonight Show monologues targeted the former commander in chief.

Those are just some of the conclusions from a new study from the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) at George Mason University, which analyzed the 43,892 jokes about public figures and public affairs during Leno's Tonight Show tenure, from 1992 through January 24, 2014.

PHOTOS: Jay Leno's Final Days With 'The Tonight Show'

His top 20 political targets, according to the report, include the past four presidents and vice presidents, as well as the past six failed major party nominees for president. Democrats were the target of 10,885 jokes, 15 percent more than the 9,465 jokes directed at Republicans — an unsurprising imbalance, since presidents were usually Leno’s leading targets, and Democrats occupied the White House during 13 of his 22 years as Tonight Show host.

Outside the political sphere, Leno found late-night punchlines in the scandalous behavior of actors, singers and sports stars. See all of Leno's top targets below.

Top 20 political joke targets:

1. Bill Clinton: 4,607
2. George W. Bush: 3,239
3. Al Gore: 1,026
4. Barack Obama: 1, 011
5. Hillary Clinton: 939
6. Dick Cheney: 673
7. Monica Lewinsky: 454
8. Bob Dole: 452
9. John McCain: 426
10. Mitt Romney: 361
11. John Kerry: 357
12. George H.W. Bush: 343
13. Newt Gingrich: 328
14. Sarah Palin: 300
15. Ross Perot: 288
16. Arnold Schwarzenegger: 288
17. Joe Biden: 274
18. Dan Quayle: 260
19 John Edwards: 229
20. Osama Bin Laden: 216

PHOTOS: What Jay Leno Should Do Next: Advice From Andy Samberg, Bill Maher and More

Top 20 celebrity joke targets:

1. O.J. Simpson: 795
2. Michael Jackson: 505
3. Martha Stewart: 208
4. Paris Hilton: 153
5. Lindsay Lohan: 153
6. Robert Blake: 121
7. Anna Nicole Smith: 55
8. Roger Clemens: 50
9. Tonya Harding: 49
10. Alex Rodriguez: 49
11. Heidi Fleiss: 48
12. Charlie Sheen: 48
13. Lance Armstrong: 47
14. Michael Vick: 47
15. Madonna: 46
16. Justin Bieber: 44
17. Britney Spears: 42
18. Kobe Bryant: 38
19. Chris Brown: 38
20. Kim Kardashian: 37

Email: Ashley.Lee@THR.com
Twitter: @cashleelee