: TV Guide reports that Stuttering John Melendez, a fixture on the Howard Stern show, is going to be the new announcer for Jay Leno.

On the one hand, Stern caused the defection because he has been threatening to quit radio when his contract is up in two years. Who’s going to pass up a rich gig?

On the other hand, it seems like a typically tone-deaf Leno move, making a famous stutterer an announcer. John has been more than a stuttering joke for years; he’s a character for so many other reasons (his cheapness, his marriage, his gossiping, his chutzpah). If all he does is announce and stutter, that makes him into a stuttering joke again and it makes fun of stutterers for its own sake.

Leno has been stealing bits from Stern; now he’s stealing people.

Stern et al are on vacation this week; expect fun next week. MarksFriggin, Stern’s unofficial Boswell, has more thoughts. [Thanks to Ed Moltzen for the tip]