A thorough search of Jay Leno’s monologues show that claims by two California Sikhs that the comedian insulted the community with his monologues in 2007, in which he allegedly called Sikhs ‘diaper heads,’ and in 2010, in which he allegedly embellished about the president’s cancellation of the Darbar Sahib trip because he had to wear a turban, were inaccurate.
Part of the initial outrage by many people was their claims that Jay Leno’s recent joke was consistent with a history of him insulting Sikhs. However, it appears that he either has no history, or that any comments he made were not recorded. Regardless, the merit behind these claims is now quite questionable.
This latest bit of news reinforces the lesson for us that it’s important to approach such issues with a rational demeanor and base our response on actual fact rather than hearsay.
I should also mention that last year, I attended a taping of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and was treated the same as everyone else by Jay Leno’s/NBC’s staff, except for one instance: part way through the show, one of the staff members came up into the audience, singled me out and gave me a parting gift that they were handing out to selected people.
I’m not a particularly big fan of Leno’s comedy in general, and this experience of mine doesn’t sway me in the matter at hand. However, I did appreciate their gesture at the time. They treated me – the only turban-wearing Sikh in the audience – like anyone else, if not a little better.