SANTA MONICA, Calif., June 8 /PRNewswire/ -- On July 13th Xenon Pictures will release "The 1984 Los Angeles Comedy Competition with Host Jay Leno," the first stand up comedy special featuring Jay Leno with 25 minutes of never-before-seen footage of Leno's classic comedy club act that made him a star. From producer Leigh Savidge, one of the first to be "Lenoed" back in the '80s, this hilarious comedy DVD takes an "American Idol" approach to stand-up comedy with Jay Leno hosting a show that features competing stand up comics Ray Combs, Howie Gold, Jeff Gerbino and Steve Oedekerk performing in front of a live crowd and a panel of celebrity judges that includes funnyman Fred Willard.
"I filmed Jay's live comedy club act in the 1980's when he was a cutting edge comedian with great material," said Savidge. "Soon after, Jay decided he didn't want his act overexposed on cable TV so I got steam-rolled over by the Leno machine. I was probably one of the first guys to get Lenoed."
Leigh Savidge tells the story of how Leno did whatever he could to stop the release of the show in the funny animated Youtube video called "I Got Lenoed" which has been getting thousands of views on Youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5zP7_C2Fjk
In 1984, 25-year-old Savidge produced his first live comedy show with Jay Leno as host. Since Leno had never done a comedy special that featured a significant portion of his live act, Savidge received strong interest from the TV and pay cable community for broadcast rights. However, after taping the live show, Leno and his manager reneged on their agreement with Savidge without explanation and began strong arming the TV community with threatening phone calls to kill the show's chances at a TV deal. Unable to sell the show after Leno's interference, Savidge started his own company to self distribute it and sued Leno for breach of contract. The case was settled out of court with Leno withdrawing all rights to the show.
But when Savidge attempted to release the show on home video, Leno's attorneys attacked again, this time objecting to the 1984 publicity photo used on the cover claiming it was "scary to children." The project was put on hold as more legal proceedings took place. A judge later threw Leno's claim out of court.
Ready to give up, Savidge offered to sell the whole thing back to Leno and be done with it but Leno said no. So Savidge shelved the show where it sat for years. Upon much reflection, and witnessing the latest late night wars, Savidge is now ready to release the original 1984 comedy show starring Jay Leno on DVD and share the outrageous story behind it. "In hindsight, I'm actually glad I had this experience with Jay because it gave me the motivation to start my own film distribution company, which has been very successful for me."
"The 1984 Los Angeles Comedy Competition With Host Jay Leno" arrives on DVD July 13th. Bonus Features include the animated Youtube video "I Got Lenoed" plus the court transcripts that includes Leno's lawyer's pleading with the judge that the video box for the show was "scary to children."
Savidge is Founder, President and CEO of Xenon Pictures, Inc., an independent film company specializing in urban dramas, comedy and popular independent films often over-looked by the mainstream studios.
SOURCE Xenon Pictures, Inc.