Jay Leno: Hasty Pudding Man of the Year? Really?

Jay Leno: The comedian was named to be Harvard University's Hasty Pudding 2011 Man of the Year. Why was he chosen?

Jeff Daly/
In this Dec. 30, 2010 photo, Jay Leno performs at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino's 'Hard Rock Live' in Hollywood, Fla.

Massachusetts native and comedian Jay Leno has been named Harvard University's Hasty Pudding 2011 Man of the Year. Why was the TV host of "The Tonight Show" chosen?

The Hasty Pudding drama troupe says, the Associated Press reports, that Mr. Leno was selected because he has "entertained millions of people over his long and accomplished career in comedy," and he continues to do so.

Still, the Hasting Pudding Club passed over Harvard alumnus and late-night comedian Conan O'Brien. Leno, an Emerson College grad, gave up his Tonight Show seat to Conan O'Brien briefly and only to take it back when TV ratings for both comedians flagged.

Leno appeared with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show in 1977 and that year Carson was also named the Pudding's Man of the Year. Fifteen years later, after Carson retired, Leno took over as host for the show.

On Feb. 4, Leno will follow in his mentor's footsteps and receive the Pudding Pot award at a roasting ceremony in Cambridge, Mass., before a performance of the theater troupe's 163rd production of, "Kashmir If You Can."

Hasty Pudding Theatrical Society is the oldest undergraduate drama troupe in the United States. The pudding award is given to performers annually who have made lasting and impressive contributions to the world of entertainment.

Previous winners for Hasty Pudding Man of the Year include Clint Eastwood, Robert De Niro and last year's winner Justin Timberlake.

Actress Julianne Moore ("The Kids are All Right" and "30 Rock") was named Hasty Pudding Woman of the year last week, following Anne Hathaway who was last year's recipient. The ceremony for the Woman of the Year will be held on Jan. 27.

Do you think Jay Leno has earned Harvard's prestigious Hasty Pudding award?

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