One of the toughest things for me to convey to people outside of Michigan is just how bad things are in Detroit.
Often, when I'm talking with neighbors and friends here in Chicago they will ask me, "How ugly is it in Motown?" My answer has been and remains, "It's ugly."
What hits home the most is the way people in Detroit feel beaten up.
Thousands have lost jobs in the auto industry, countless others who still have their jobs are wondering how long they will be employed, house values have been whacked, and the folks in Detroit are tired of hearing the national media question whether GM and Chrysler deserve Federal loans.
These folks need something to lift their spirits.
Tonight Show host Jay Lenoknows that. Which is one reason he is bringing "Jay's Comedy Stimulus Plan" to Detroit on April 7th and giving away tickets to anyone who says they are unemployed. Refreshments and parking will also be free. The show is a great gesture from a guy who appreciates the importance of American auto industry.
I've interviewed Jay a few times and spent some time at his garage in Burbank, California. He is a car guy's car guy. A gear head who is as fascinated with the earliest steam powered cars from 100 years ago as he is with muscle cars from 60's. When I've talked with Jay at his garage I've always noticed his fascination with the culture and people who built a particular model. So many of his oldest cars have unusual design features he'll explain with a story that goes way beyond a passing interest.
I haven't asked Jay his thoughts about the current crisis hitting the Big 3 or whether GM and Chrysler should be bailed out. I'm sure, like everyone else in this country he has an opinion. Will he crack a few jokes about this automotive soap opera when he is in Detroit? Probably. After all, so many things have happened in the last year that are ripe for satire including the way the Big 3 CEO's were treated when they went to Capitol Hill last year.
The people of Detroit could enjoy a good laugh right now.
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