Las Vegas Sun

July 25, 2021

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Icons fall as Tonight Show host hits gaming capital

Jay Leno put unsuspecting tourists to the test Monday night as he opened a five-night stint here by poking fun at one of the city's icons.

Leno opened the show with taped segments of visits he paid to hotel rooms of MGM Grand guests, asking them if they wanted to be Las Vegas showgirls.

Accompanied by dancer-choreographer Debbie Allen and four showgirls, Leno ad-libbed about the talents of the unsuspecting guests as they donned glitzy costumes and were led through dance routines and high kicks.

Wearing skimpy bikinis, six girls coated in gold paint from head to toe opened the show.

Leno identified the sexy opening act as "the Las Vegas chapter of the Girl Scouts."

And he joked about the city's coveted high rollers, saying they were flown in and catered to lavishly, "almost like Clinton campaign workers."

Leno also likened Las Vegas to Washington, with the exception that "in Las Vegas, the drunks are gambling with their own money."

Actor Tom Arnold, touting the loss of 75 pounds, railed about the current fuss over another guest, Miss Universe Alicia Machado, who has come under fire from pageant officials for gaining upwards of 20 pounds since she won her crown here last year.

Also on Monday night's show were supermodel Tyra Banks and entertainer Wayne Newton.

Asked by Leno if he was upset about the Wayne Newton impersonators on the Las Vegas Strip, Newton replied, "I just wish they'd wait until I die. Maybe they saw my act and I did die."

After the end of the taping, Leno did a couple of promos for network affiliates, then lamented to band leader Kevin Eubanks, "Oh no, we've still got to get all the gold off of those girls. We're going to be up all night."

This is the third time Leno has taped a week-long segment at the MGM Grand.