Jay Leno talks to WLOX about raising money for oil recovery

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - By Rebecca Powers – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - NBC's "Tonight Show" host performed just one show Saturday night in Biloxi. But what he's leaving behind is every penny he raised will go directly to Gulf Coast oil spill recovery efforts.

Jay Leno often leaves the comforts of is L. A. studio to take his "stand up act" on the road. He booked a Beau Rivage gig more than a year ago, but he was moved by the Gulf Coast's plight in light of the BP oil spill and wanted to keep national attention here.

Jay Leno said, "We have this habit in America, something happens and we follow it intently for weeks and months and then the oil spill is stopped, they capped the well, and we move on to the next project."

But he knows that there is a long road of recovery ahead, especially for those who earn their living on the water.

Leno said, "I think it's very important to keep focusing on it. This is a problem that's going to be around this area for a long, long time, and I see a lot of these people that are out of work shrimp boat people or whatever and businesses connected with the gulf. And it's an easy way to help out."

So all of the Beau Rivage show proceeds will go directly to the "Gulf Coast Community Foundation" and it's Mississippi Oil Spill recovery fund. He said he'll never forget his Dad giving money to a wounded police officer.

"He was the policeman that was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald, and I remember when they announced it on the news. My dad got up and went into his den and wrote out a check for $10 which was a lot more money in 1963, and he mailed it to the family," Leno recalled. "He said, 'You know just because people don't live next door, doesn't mean they're not your neighbors.' And I always thought, that seems like a good thing to me."

Mr. Leno even stayed after the show to meet and greet 130 people willing to pay 150 dollars each, anything to raise more money for recovery.

"I think we've raised almost a $100,000 so far. That's great, and all the money goes to the charity. We don't deduct expenses you know those phony things, you know meals were $90,000. It's 100%. Nobody is taking out airfare or anything like that, it all goes to the charity."

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