The mainstream media signed on to the District Attorney’s 1993 theory that Erik and Lyle Menendez were a pair of greedy rich kids, and that included NBC’s Jay Leno.
Leno’s monologues on The Tonight Show often featured at least one joke based on the Menendez testimony of the day.
When Erik admitted that he had a hard time getting dates, this was Jay’s gag:
Yesterday, Erik said his parents made fun of him because he never had a girlfriend. You know, I don’t know how to break it to him, but shooting your Mom and Dad isn’t really going to help your chances.
On October 6, Leno joked that the men on trial for the World Trade Center bombing were trying to use the defense that Jose and Kitty Menendez had abused them.
On October 11, Leno one-lined that he had found a “new video game more violent than `Mortal Kombat’: `Super Menendez Brothers.'”
As Halloween approached on October 28, Leno said that it was crazy to try to scare people with $40 Beavis and Butthead masks. “You can save a lot of money and be more scary by just wearing sweaters and going as the Menendez brothers,” he said. (And the most popular costume for the half million people at the West Hollywood Halloween parade in 1993 was pairs of friends dressed in pastel sweaters.)
Leno was cutting and on the cutting-edge. He even offered skits on the trial, not being content to leave it go at a quickie monologue line.
In September, Leno announced that NBC had optioned the rights to Erik and Lyle’s story for a new sitcom. and he’d just obtained the “opening” of the new show. The parody appropriated the musical theme from the old Patty Duke Show.”
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