Leno offers laughter to Detroit

When people lose their jobs and make less money, what seems to go first are the dollars spent on entertainment.

On the March 10 episode of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” Leno revealed that he had set up a free show at the Palace of Auburn Hills on Tuesday, April 7 in an effort to allow those out of work or feeling the heat of these economic times to a free night out — right down to not having to pay for parking at the venue.

The Palace lot opened at 6:30 a.m. Monday, March 16 and by 10 a.m. the line for free tickets wrapped around nearly half of the venue.

Austin Zidar, an 18-year-old freshman U.S. history major at Oakland University, waited in line for his free tickets for three hours.


“It means a lot — Jay Leno is a nationally known comedian and I appreciate him doing this. Michigan is known for our bad economy, one of the worst economies in America,” Zidar said.

Zidar’s stepfather was laid off from his job building houses, and his mother was briefly laid off but fortunately able to get another job at a mobile home park as an office manager.

Zidar is also struggling to find work.

“I’ve tried to get a job, put in a lot of applications and have gotten a few interviews, but nothing yet. I tried to get a job on campus; they said they ran out of work-study money,” Zidar said.

Kathleen Krause, 59, of Clinton Township said she was bringing her husband, daughter and son-in-law to the show, and was planning on giving the tickets to her daughter for her birthday.

“Laughter always makes life easier. I’m going for a night of laughter,” Krause said.

Krause’s husband was laid off from Sarns Machine, and she worked at a small consignment shop that is now out of business.

“My husband’s been working on the house, and I’ve been working on the computer looking for work,” Krause said.

Jeff Corey, the director of public relations at the Palace, said the Palace has never put on a completely free show before.

“We are so excited to host this event, when they approached us with Jay’s idea, how could we say no?” Corey said.

Corey said he hopes that Leno’s act of kindness will open up other future possibilities with other celebrities or events.

“[The show] isn’t just for people out of work, but anyone having a hard time due to the economic struggles. [Leno] wants to provide a night out of entertainment,” Corey said.

Corey also said there were so many people who showed up to receive free tickets that Leno added another show for the following night.

Tickets are still available and will continue to be given out at the Palace box office. (Accurate at time of press). There is a four-ticket limit with a valid ID.

More info can be found at www.palacenet.com.