The world’s most-famous chat show star has dubbed 26-County Taoiseach Brian Cowen a “drunken moron” following his infamous “hoarse” interview on morning radio in Ireland.
Jay Leno made the comments after he showed his Tonight Show audience a previously unknown picture of a partying Mr Cowen.
Leno showed the drunk-looking Mr Cowen, asking the question: “Looking at that guy. How many think he is a bartender?”
He then asked if the audience thought he was a “nightclub comedian” or a “politician” - before revealing he was the “Prime Minister of Ireland” to loud applause and laughter.
“He’s Brian Cowen, the Prime Minister of Ireland. Oh God, it’s so nice to know we’re not the only country with drunken morons, isn’t it?” the star said.
Mr Cowen has been widely ridiculed since his infamous drinking session with party colleagues and members of the etablishment media during a Fianna Fail ‘think in’ two weeks ago.
It later emerged the Taoiseach had been up drinking until after 3am on the Tuesday morning, regaling hangers-on by doing impersonations and singing songs.
The Tonight Show regularly attracts audiences of nearly four million viewers, with millions more watching the internationally syndicated show worldwide.
Last week, new figures showed the 26-County economy shrank in the second quarter of the year and appears set for a ‘double-dip’ of economic contraction.
Cowen has denied he has an alcohol problem and has attempted to rebuild his reputation by carrying out soft-ball interviews on state-run television. It has also been revealed that he will in future limit himself to no more than two drinks nightly.
Meanwhile, the opposition parties in the Dublin parliament have said they will attempt to prompt an early general election when it resumes on Wednesday by enforcing stricter ‘pairing’ arrangements -- which allow government politicians to absent themselves from parliamentary business -- and by putting renewed pressure on the coalition overnment to hold outstanding by-elections.
Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Fein will also focus on health motions during the new parliamentary term in an attempt to force Fianna Fail dissidents such as Mattie McGrath of Tipperary South and Noel Grealish of Galway West to abstain or vote against the Coalition.
Over the weekend, McGrath joined Grealish in refusing to support the Fianna Fail/Green party coalition over its planned cutbacks in health.
Meanwhile, a controversy has arisen over the travel plans of Tanaiste Mary Coughlan, who would have been the first Cabinet member to face Dail questions this week.
Her efforts to miss Dail business by making a trip to the United States -- ostensibly to deliver “economic messages” -- appeared to have been upset by Fine Gael who refused to provide cover for her absence in votes.
Coughlan did not reveal why her participation in the Enterprise Ireland trip, aimed at increasing the numbers of students visiting Ireland from the US, was required. Fianna Fail denied it was an attempt by Coughlan to dodge Dail questions and extend her summer vacation into October.
However, the Labour Party intervened this evening to allow her to take part in the junket by pairing her with senior party figure Ruairi Quinn.
This evening, Quinn claimed the Tanaiste had briefed him by telephone and that he is “satisfied this is an important visit with significant job creation potential”.