Monday, June 6, 2016

Did Jay Leno ever compare the fears of public speaking and death?

Probably not. It came from a mixup about which comedian famously had joked about that topic. I ran across claims that Jay had said:

“I guess we’d rather be in the casket than delivering the eulogy.”

Zac Johnson posted about it on January 22, 2015, and then pastor Nelson Fernandez, Jr. posted on August 20, 2015. Pastor Fernandez might have gotten it from Andy Braner’s earlier 2015 book, No Fear in Love: Loving Others the Way God Loves Us. I first found it in a June 4th post by Oliver Tuffney.

My Google search found the Leno claim seems to originally have come from Ronald A. Tomo’s 2011 book, Notes to Jacqui: A Polio Survivor's Thoughts to his Daughter. His version says coffin instead of casket:

“I once heard a joke which I believe was aired on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno having to do with an alleged survey about the greatest fears people have in life.

‘A study showed that the number one fear people have is Public speaking and the number two fear was death. So, to put this in perspective, that means people would rather be in the coffin than giving the eulogy.’ “

On May 28th I blogged about Did Woody Allen ever compare the fears of public speaking and death? and discussed how that really came from a joke by Jerry Seinfeld on his TV show in 1993.

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