Behind the Curtain: An Insider’s View of Jay Leno’s Tonight Show Hardcover – July 10, 2014
by Dave Berg (Author)
Jay Leno’s Tonight Show comes alive in this book by insider Dave Berg, who spent 18 years as Jay’s co-producer. There were always two shows: the one on stage and the one behind the curtain. This narrative weaves both together, featuring the show’s most legendary moments, including Hugh Grant’s game-changing mea culpa, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s shocking political announcement, and the historic booking of Barack Obama as the first sitting president ever to do a late-night show. But it doesn’t stop there. Every page is full of zany, wacky and serious moments with celebrities, political and sports figures at The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Foreword by Jay Leno and endorsements by Laura Bush, Bill O’Reilly, Bill Maher, Gary Sinise, James Carville & Mary Matalin, Larry the Cable Guy and more.
From the Inside Flap
[Jay] Leno’s penchant for topicality and Berg’s news background combined to add a political sensibility and relevancy to Tonight’s monologue and guest bookings, which is a big reason it became America’s go-to, late-night show. But success was never a foregone conclusion. Leno and his producers formulated a strategy to become number-one, and Berg reveals how they did it.
In Berg’s Behind the Curtain, Leno is portrayed as one of Hollywood’s good guys, to be sure, but he’s far more nuanced, complex and edgy than media profiles have suggested. His uncanny ability to read America’s pulse better than anyone else in late-night television is the single most important reason The Tonight Show was number-one for so long during his watch.
Leno never lost sight of his goal, which was to bring a little entertainment into people’s lives before they went to sleep each night. Similarly, Behind the Curtain is mostly just a fun read, full of never-before-told anecdotes about Leno and the guests who appeared on Tonight with him.
From the Back Cover
“The fact that Dave Berg’s politics were mostly the opposite of mine and yet he never let that affect his encouragement of my comedy on The Tonight Show is reason enough to recommend this book. The other is . . . I requested a chapter to read and, after that, wanted to read the whole book. Because Jay Leno is somehow Everyman and simultaneously the most idiosyncratic guy in the world, and Dave Berg tells you how.”
—Bill Maher, comedian and host of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher
“Jay Leno is sui generis and Dave Berg is the one-of-a-kind, colorful, and astute chronicler of the individual and collective dynamic that propels timeless and accessible humor, the thing that makes the world go round. Dave does an eye-opening, insider’s job revealing in a narrative with fun anecdotes what it was like to be behind the scenes at The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Along the way, Dave also sets the record straight about the enormous contributions Jay Leno made to late-night television, contributions critics have overlooked or been too quick to dismiss.”
—James Carville and Mary Matalin, political consultants
“In Behind the Curtain: An Insider’s View of Jay Leno’s Tonight Show, co-producer Dave Berg has captured the essence of Jay’s day-to-day commitment and the backstage experience beautifully . . . The book is an entertaining read and tells the story with wit, love and insight, not the usual Hollywood gossip.”
—Gary Sinise, Oscar-nominated actor, film director, and musician
“If I ever put together a baseball team of people that are special to me Dave would be at the top of the order. He’s written a great book about both Tonight Shows, the one on stage and the one behind the curtain. . . . Love ya Dave!”
—Dan Whitney, comedian, better known as “Larry the Cable Guy”
“It was always a pleasure to appear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Jay and his long-time producer Dave Berg would welcome me to the green room, and these moments before the show gave us a chance to laugh. Jay and Dave brought a great spirit and a lot of dignity to late-night television.”
—Mrs. Laura Bush, former First Lady of the United States
“Dave Berg knows everything about late-night TV. And if you read Behind the Curtain: An Insider’s View of Jay Leno’s Tonight Show, so will you. A very entertaining and informative book.”
—-Bill O’Reilly, host of Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor
Dave Berg is a writer and a columnist and was a co-producer for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Jay Leno Show, where he also appeared in numerous comedy sketches. He was a producer for The O’Reilly Factor, a writer for NBC News and the Los Angeles bureau chief for CNBC. He has written for USA Today, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, National Review, Christianity Today, The Washington Times, The Daily Caller and Crisis Magazine. He has a BA in political science from Northwestern University and an MS in journalism from Kansas State University. Berg lives with his wife Mary in Los Angeles.
Please see Dave’s website at getbehindthecurtain.com