SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5 / BCN) — A man who said he lost his job playing Santa at Macy’s Union Square in San Francisco for telling dirty jokes to adult visitors may be getting the last laugh: his story has earned him an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
After John Toomey’s saga made national headlines, the show contacted him and asked him to fly down for the taping of tonight’s episode, said Lee Houskeeper, a spokesman for Lefty O’Doul’s restaurant near Union Square where Toomey will take his act next.
Toomey flew down to Los Angeles Thursday morning and was expecting to be interviewed by Leno during the taping of the show Thursday afternoon.
Since the story broke of Toomey’s firing from Macy’s and subsequent hiring at Lefty’s, Houskeeper said he has received about 400 calls from media outlets around the world interested in speaking with him.
“There are far more requests than we’ve had time to handle,” Houskeeper said. “He’s become a media sensation.”
After taping the show, Toomey planned to fly back to the Bay Area Thursday night and was scheduled to participate in his first event at Lefty’s on Friday afternoon.
The celebration welcoming Toomey to his new post is scheduled to take place from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday. Weather permitting, he will also be taken on a fire engine around Union Square, Houskeeper said.
Toomey was profiled a few years ago by KPIX-TV CBS 5’s Mike Sugerman. (Watch below)
Beginning Saturday, Toomey will appear on a specially constructed North Pole Winter Wonderland stage in the back of Lefty O’Doul’s restaurant from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. every day until Christmas Eve.
He is also helping Lefty’s collect 10,000 toys for the San Francisco Firefighters Toy Program. The restaurant collects toys every Christmas Eve from dawn until last call.
The restaurant is located at 333 Geary St., just west of Union Square.
(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News contributed to this report.)