Jay Leno Rips Off Taylor Swift Montage, Semi-Apologizes


So friend-of-SOTC and general sweet Internet dude Rich Juzwiak recently co-engineered a fantastic montage of Taylor Swift feigning shock when she is given awards; hatched alongside his online cohort Kate Spencer, the clip attracted a great deal of attention, as you might imagine, including from someone at The Tonight Show, who reached out to Rich about it: Jay Leno would be interviewing Taylor very soon, and he’d like to show it to her on the air. Rich agreed, so long as they credited the source. The Jay/Taylor interview aired Monday. You can probably guess what happened.

Yes indeed, Jay introduces the clip with “We put together a little montage of you being surprised.” No further elaboration, no credit. Rich is understandably (though politely) appalled, as he explains in a post entitled Jay Leno Ripped Me Off:

What surprised me the most wasn’t so much that Kate and I weren’t mentioned, but that the video wasn’t credited as having originated on the Internet. This is not an obscure work — it’s racked up over 200,000 views in a week! I thought at the very least, he’d give and indication of this thing’s preexistence so that his viewers could hunt it down if they were so inclined. That was, apparently, expecting too much.

Ah, but it ends happily — after a fresh wave of anti-Leno derision hit the Internet yesterday, Jay’s man reached out Rich, blamed the fiasco on a miscommunication, and offered to make it right; as you see above, tonight Jay did, in a brief closing-credits sort of way, but still offering the surreal sight of FourFour getting a Tonight Show shout-out. Everyone wins, sort of. As Rich concludes:

But really, the way all this went down is almost as good as if we’d been credited: a chance for righteous indignation is a gift, and I did get to see Taylor Swift’s reaction to my video of her reactions, which is deliciously meta and very satisfying in its own right. Her seeming inability to see the humor in her behavior makes me feel like Kate’s and my point is even more resounding. She is naive and lacking in self-awareness, it turns out without surprise. What is Jay’s excuse?

Well, Jay’s trying, at least.