Temecula got a taste of some bona fide star power when the king of late night television took the stage Saturday at Pechanga Resort & Casino.
Iconic comedian Jay Leno wowed a sold-out crowd with laughs and gaffes and plenty of pokes at the infamous and the absurd to the delight of many in the house.
But one thing that was noticeably absent from Leno’s routine was the kind of raucous, raunchy language that many comics rely upon to stir up some controversy.
Honestly, he just didn’t need it.
Demonstrating that funny can be clean, yet still provocative, Leno proved masterful at hyping the scandalous — think suspect politicians lingering in bathroom stalls — and at elevating the mundane to hilarity, such as coping with elderly parents to the difference between owning a cat and a dog.
Covering a broad range of topics — everything from the oddities of Los Angeles living to airport pat-downs — Leno set an expert pace that alternated between a flawless, rapid-fire delivery that kept the crowd humming with laughter and a hushed, incredulous silence. A silence that Leno timed perfectly, holding the audience in rapt attention as he wove the tale before dropping the punch line.
Throughout the nearly 90-minute set — at least five times the crowd briefly slowed the comedian with its applause — Leno’s observations were not just funny, but astute.
Particularly notable was his riff on America’s unrelenting obsession with food that observed how as people grow fatter, somehow televisions are getting slimmer.
Looking sharp in dark suit, flipping his tie and repeatedly swiping his hand through his salt and pepper — mostly salt — hair as he paced the stage, Leno was most fun when he engaged with the crowd.
As the house lights went up, Leno called out to random folks, asking for their professions and quickly improvising some serious smack talk and tossing jabs.
But, it was all in good, clean fun.
To learn more about upcoming events at Pechanga Resort & Casino, visit www.pechanga.com.
Kerri S. Mabee can be reached at email@example.com. Follow me on Twitter @kerrimabee.