Jay Leno, who earns millions with his gags, made a down-on-their-luck crowd laugh for free.
Leno performed two free shows at a Chicago comedy club Thursday night for about 250 people without jobs. He quipped, "I'll give them their money back if they don't like it."Leno said he got the idea after seeing reports about thousands of job hunters lined up in freezing weather for just a few hundred jobs at a new downtown hotel.
"It's really not a lot of effort on my part. You do what you normally do for free a couple of times, and maybe it'll help somebody out," Leno said.
Leno, who worked at Zanies in the 1980s before he made it big, quizzed the audience about their olds jobs.
"A researcher for the stock exchange? Oh, you're just between indictments right now," Leno said to one woman.
And to a man: "You're a union laborer? So you just punch in and come down here and watch the show?"
Leno, who will replace Johnny Carson as host of NBC's "The Tonight Show" in May, was a big hit.
"It was fabulous," said 24-year-old Rebecca Knueppel, who lost her sales job three months ago. "It definitely cheered up everybody in the room."
Meanwhile, local companies turned out to donate about $75,000 in coupons for gasoline, food and other products, Zanies owner Rick Uchwat said.