Kevin Eubanks Biography
Kevin Tyrone Eubanks (born November 15, 1957 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), is an American jazz guitarist who has been the leader of the Tonight Show Band with host Jay Leno since 1995.
He played with Art Blakey, Roy Haynes, Slide Hampton, and Sam Rivers before starting to lead his own groups in 1983. Like his brother Robin Eubanks, a jazz trombonist, he has played on record with Dave Holland.
In 2005, Eubanks received an honorary doctorate degree from the Berklee College of Music, of which he is an alumnus.
He is known for his lingering, amused laughter following many of Leno's sharper jokes, and for being a huge Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies fan, which is often seen when he wears hats with their logos during shows. He is also known for having to stick his entire body into a giant tub of chunky soup when the Philadelphia Eagles lost the Superbowl.
Kevin Eubanks is an enthusiastic vegetarian, and promotes the vegetarian lifestyle as healthy. Leno commonly pokes fun at this on the show when jokes involve vegetables (such as in typos on supermarket flyers during the "Headlines" segment).
Many parodies have been made on such shows as The Simpsons that Eubanks is overly responsive to Leno's jokes. People often criticize the fact that Eubanks laughs at all the jokes (while the Tonight Show drummer enthusiastically smacks the bass drum), whether they're funny or not. A 1997 skit showed that the reason Eubanks regularly laughed at Leno's jokes was because a feather was tickling the bottom of his foot. In recent episodes of The Late Show with David Letterman there have been video bits cut into the show of Eubanks' famous response to Jay Leno's jokes. When shown, Letterman and band leader Paul Shaffer look at each other in shock.