Let’s put aside for a minute whether the Writers Guild of America is smart to demonize Jay Leno for writing his own jokes. We think it’s a big mistake. Why wouldn’t the WGA want Leno crafting the best digs at management — in support of the writers’ cause — that he possibly can?
The WGA’s strike rules prohibit Jay, or any other member, from performing writing services for any struck company. Jay’s a member, and NBC U is a struck company, so it applies. But the existing guild agreement exempts monologues, so Jay’s in the clear, right?
The legal argument boils down to whether the last WGA agreement, which expired Oct. 31, is a dead letter, or if it the still has legal force, per collective bargaining rules. Then it really starts to get confusing. Former WGA attorney and Huffpo blogger Jonathan Handel tries to sort it out.
Either way, it hardly matters: The WGA’s recourse would be to fine Jay Leno or expel him from the union. Either move would be worthy of an opening monologue.
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