Jay Leno made fun of me on the Tonight Show stage - and taught me a lesson

by Blagica Bottigliero

Hanging with our Nebraska buddies

Hanging with our Nebraska buddies

There are certain points of my life where I go back and think, ‘Did that really happen?’ Being on the ‘Tonight Show’ stage was one of them.

We were in LA. I was joined by one of my closest and dearest friends, Angie.  That trip is worth at least five blog posts, but I’ll focus on the part of our trip that brought us to Burbank. Without thinking twice about it, we decided to try and get seats to the ‘Tonight Show’.  

The day before the taping, we scoped out the studio and decided to get there early.  The weather was horrible. It was raining and we had to wait all day for the afternoon taping.  Did I mention we were first in line?  Our chatty selves befriended two friends from Nebraska.  Soon, the four of us became line buddies. Yes, 'buddies'. We even went to Big Boy for lunch. 

As the weather turned grim, two of us decided to stay in line, holding our spots, while the other two visited a local K-mart to pick up supplies.  Yes, supplies. Cards, munchies, rain panchos, etc. We camped out all day in that line - and had a blast.

We were happy in line, knowing we were first. The next thing we knew, we had seats in the FRONT ROW.  Waiting all afternoon in that line paid off. At the beginning of every taping, Leno would come out, shake hands and wave. Angie and I were looking for our chance to have the back of our heads show up on live TV. That’s when we were asked to go on stage during Jay’s warm up. We died.

In a blur, the four of us went on stage and Jay asked us who we were and what we did for a living.  There I was, a young 20 something excited crazy person, meeting Jay Leno and saying my name to him, ‘BLAH-GEE-TSA’.  Instead of saying something snappy, this is how the conversation went on stage, in front of the audience.

“Who are you and where are you from”

“Blah-gee-tsa. From Chicago”

“What do you do for a living”

“I work for a web company called Giant Step we just launched the new Maytag.com!!’

<pause, funny look>

“I think you should getalife.com!”

Somewhere in my boxes I have a shot of us with Leno on stage. Luckily, my face didn’t reflect the way I felt inside - totally and utterly embarrassed. This is when I realized that I was taking everything I did about my career way too seriously.

After the LA trip, things changed. I was still serious about what I did at work, but I only had to hear or say the name ‘Jay Leno’ to remember to slow things down.

Which brings me to this random question, Jay, what is up with those jean shirts??