BOSTON — Like a battle-scarred general reporting from the front, "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno says the live show he did from Boston's Bull and Finch pub the night "Cheers" went off the air was ruined by drunken "Cheers" cast members.
Leno called the Boston Herald after a blistering review in that newspaper of last week's program, a ratings bonanza that featured nearly the entire cast of "Cheers."
Acknowledging that the remote, live show he had pitched to NBC was a "mistake," Leno said he tried to hold things together in the face of uncooperative guests. For one thing, planned sketches with each cast member were scratched, he said.
"Those people were so drunk I don't know what else we could have done in a live situation," Leno told Herald TV columnist Monica Collins, one of a small handful of reporters inside the Bull and Finch that night.
"You don't tell these people how to behave," he was quoted as saying. "Nobody tells them what to do."
The partying began at the Bull and Finch with a farewell party with cast members and VIPs watching the final episode.
"All those celebrities got there early and started drinking early," Leno said. "And with the exception of Sen. (John) Kerry (D-Mass.), everybody was really drunk.
"People were like vomiting. They were out of their minds. They stumbled."
Collins, in her Tuesday review, said the "Cheers" gang--except for Rhea Perlman--behaved like "idiots" and "jerks" and she chided Leno for making lame on-camera jokes about how inebriated everyone was.
"Was it a great show? No," Leno said. "But I guess you have to expect people to show up totally drunk when you do a live show from a real bar. In a real bar, everybody drinks real drinks.
"It was a huge mistake. But that's OK. You win some and lose some." Leno said "Cheers" star Ted Danson sent flowers the day after to apologize "and Norm called."
The ever-optimistic Leno also said he hoped to take "Tonight" on the road again.