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Utah’s ‘Leno’ loves laughs, cars

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D.J. Adamson, who could pass as Jay Leno's twin brother, might have a chance to meet the real McCoy in February in a look-alike contest on "The Tonight Show."

D.J. Adamson, who could pass as Jay Leno’s twin brother, might have a chance to meet the real McCoy in February in a look-alike contest on “The Tonight Show.”

Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News


D.J. Adamson, an American Fork used-car salesman, is a dead-on, make-your-head-turn, must-have-been-separated-at-birth ringer for Jay Leno.

The similarities — the lantern-shaped jaw and salt-and-pepper hair with a shock of black at the forehead — are eerie. And he can even spin a joke like the late-night talk show host — stroking his chin, lifting himself up off his heels and holding hands on his hips.

He's even perfected the all-knowing signature nod, complete with a lifted eyebrow.

("You have a used car salesman and an attorney standing in the middle of the road. Which one do you run over?" he says. "You go into a power slide and take them both right out.")

Now the Utah County Leno-look-alike may be headed to Los Angeles to be on Leno's show.

Six months ago, Leno announced a look-alike contest. Since that time, Adamson's Leno-like mug has been used in contest promotions.

The receptionist at Doug Smith Auto, where Adamson works, sent his picture to a local magazine for a look-alike contest. Adamson won first place and $200 in that contest.

It progressed from there.

"He's a local celebrity," said his co-worker, Ed Ziter.

"People will come in and say they need that salesman, the guy who looks like Leno," said Chris England, also a salesman at the lot. "He'll sell cars just because he looks like Leno."

"D.J.'s funnier than Jay Leno," said another co-worker, Rich Green. "When he gets going, he's so funny. I keep telling him he should do stand-up."

Adamson isn't so sure he could make a living at stand-up or as a Leno look-alike, but he's willing to investigate the possibilities.

"I'm 40, so maybe my ticket's up," he said. "And I don't know what a look-alike makes."

He may find out.

If he's selected for the show, he'll be flown to Los Angeles for a taping with Leno and a handful of other men who resemble the comic.

Carrie Simons, a publicist for NBC's "The Tonight Show," said no decisions have been made in the contest — but Adamson is being considered.

Adamson said he's been a jokester all his life. He used to stand on his head and spin around to amuse his family. While attending American Fork High, he was the Caveman mascot.

"Leno and I have a lot in common," Adamson said. "We both like cars and we both have beautifully constructed jaws. In fact, when I was born my jaw was so big, all the doctors thought I was breech. They turned me over, flipped me over again, and then spanked my face."

E-mail: haddoc@desnews.com