A Blogger Shares Life In The Leno Line

May 24, 2007|By Eugene Tong | Eugene Tong,New York Times News Service

Los Angeles -- As GloZell Green stood in line to see The Tonight Show with Jay Leno for the 20th straight time last summer, the man himself got wind of the streak and came outside to see her.

"Are you stalking me? I heard I had a stalker out here," Green said Leno asked her.

"No, sir," she said.

"OK, because I never had one," he said.

They posed for a photo and he went on his way.

Now, 157 consecutive shows later, including Tuesday's taping, he still has his No. 1 fan.

"It's benevolent stalking," said Richard Johnson, 47, Green's boyfriend. "She doesn't stalk him, but every time she sees him she's like, `Woo-hoo!'"

For the past 10 months, the 34-year-old Los Angeles woman has made Studio 3 at NBC her second home, keeping a diary about her life in the Leno line that she turned into a daily blog - glozellloves jayleno.blogspot.com - in September.

Asked if there's a bigger Leno fan, Green said: "Maybe his wife, that's about it. She don't come here every day. ... But I got her back. I'm watching her man for her."

Her love of Leno began in 1994 when he appeared at her alma mater, the University of Florida, and brought the house down.

"What I like about him is he's a clean comic," said Green, whose first name derives from Gloria and Ozell, her mother and father. "He's nice, and he's just funny. And you never see him in the tabloids. They don't even make up stuff about him."

When the Orlando, Fla., native moved to Los Angeles to pursue comedy, she got to know an NBC employee through church who got her on the Leno guest list. It was easy the first seven months - she could get in whenever she wanted - until her friend moved on.

Since then, she has had to work a little harder to keep her streak going. She arrives for tickets at 8 a.m. - she's always among the first in line - then sits and waits for more than seven hours until the doors open about 3 p.m. Her flexible hours as a massage therapist afford her the time.

Sometimes Johnson brings her lunch.

"I can understand the softer side of obsession," he said. "I'm a bibliophile, and I'm into getting signed copies of books.

"She's like Miss Miller for the new millennia."

That would be the late Lillian Miller, a regular audience member of The Tonight Show during the Steve Allen-Jack Paar era and of The Merv Griffin Show, where she became a bit of a sideshow herself.

An actress by training, Green had a similar idea when she began her Leno vigil in July: she wanted to get noticed and be a correspondent for the show.

"Instead of being a correspondent for The Tonight Show, I became a correspondent at The Tonight Show," she said.

Green also has become the line's de facto authority - answering questions from tourists and holding back line jumpers. The show pages know her by name, and she keeps them on their toes - if a bathroom runs out of soap, she'll write about it.

"In a strange way, she's a pre-show," Johnson said. "She helps people get in line. If someone needs a ticket, she'll go down the line and find them one. She's a lovely woman who enjoys being there."

As for the streak, she plans to keep seeing Leno at least until July.

"I can at least do a year and make some kind of goal out of it," she said. "I've been trying to figure out what my excuse is after July. I've been saying when Jay retires, I'll retire."

That would be in 2009, or at least another few hundred shows.

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