SPRINGFIELD — MGM Springfield seems to be banking on laughter these days.
For the past three weeks, the downtown casino has brought comedian John Mulaney to the MassMutual Center and best-selling author/comedian Chelsea Handler to nearby Symphony Hall.
In addition to established stars, MGM Springfield continues to attract young talent to its Roar! Comedy Club in the renovated Armory building on the casino grounds.
On Saturday night, the casino hosted former “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno at Symphony Hall. He performed in front of over 1,000 fans – a decent-sized crowd considering Game 5 of the Calder Cop Finals was taking place across the street.
Raised in Andover and a graduate of Emerson College, Leno shared stories of his Scottish-born mother and Italian-American father. The latter, a former boxer, told his son how tired he was from going to work every day when he had been punched in the face.
Other than a quick jab at President Joe Biden’s age and former President Donald Trump’s smarts, Leno eschewed politics and focused much of his early remarks on apps that replaced consulting people. a doctor, Amazon delivery and the Apple Store Genius Bar.
“Genius Bar, isn’t that a bit pretentious?” he asked. “Look, I’ll give you Einstein, Galileo and Newton, okay – but Joey with the man bun…”
During an 80-minute set, the 72-year-old comic shared funny stories about big comics names, like Rodney Dangerfield, and answered a few questions from the crowd. His routine was heavily focused on human weaknesses.
“We now have this whole phenomenon of watching an entire season of TV shows in one sitting. How does that work? What do you do, come home from work on a Friday night and put on a pair of Depends …and then you binge eat, while you binge watch.
Leno, who has performed at venues large and small for more than 50 years, recounted his early life playing at crowd-owned clubs in Chicago, where enforcers suggested jokes he might want to incorporate. to his number.
While Leno mentioned disgraced celebrities like Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby and former celeb couples like Kim Kardashian and Kanye West and Amber Heard and Johnny Depp, he spent much of the night commenting on the likes and American preferences.
“Competitive eating is our sport in this country. They cover it on ESPN. It’s the only country in the world where eating 300 chicken wings now makes you an athlete. And marijuana is a performance-enhancing drug.
He added: “Competitive eating is sort of a sport now, but we still can’t quite accept football.”