“Tonight Show” host Jay Leno is looking like one of the easier, more industrious of the PACER Center’s annual gala headliners.

Paula Goldberg, exec director of the center which helps children with disabilities, told me she called Leno’s assistant to ask a question and was told: Here, talk to Jay.

“He wants two bottles of water in the dressing room” for the Saturday event at the Minneapolis Convention Center, said Goldberg.

“Also, we had heard that he wanted to do the live auction for his garage. He’s donated a tour of his garage with all the cars and motorcycles. As you know, we usually have the auction before the performance [of the headliner]. Well, he wanted it after he performs. He thinks it flows better for people. So we agreed to change it.”

Goldberg had to chuckle because “he wanted to talk to us about it. He was wonderful. First time ever” that the talent is taking part in the auction.

Karen Sorbo will handle the rest of the auction items. “So it will be both Karen and Jay Leno doing the live auction. He’ll be so much fun. He’ll make people laugh.”

Since Leno will reportedly be in and out pretty fast, I guess Market Bar-B-Que should pack Jay’s favorite ribs to go.

Out of a job

Interesting how the NFL’s two most outspoken activists for gay marriage rights, Brendon Ayanbadejo and Chris Kluwe, no longer have teams.

Can’t imagine satirist Lizz Winstead won’t have commentary about this wild coincidence Saturday when the co-creator of “The Daily Show” makes a 7:30 p.m. appearance at the Woman’s Club of Minneapolis in celebration of her 30th year in comedy and the paperback release of “Lizz Free or Die.”

“Mystery Science Theater” cult figure Frank Conniff, Quicken Loans pitchman Brian Unger, a former Winstead boyfriend and creative partner, and Winstead’s siblings will tell tales out of school about Lizz and their late parents, Windy and Ginny, who became stars on “The Daily Show.”

“City Pages is going to have me on the cover, too. Finally, after 30 years, they’ve found something that would make me worthy,” she said.

No hard feelings

Andre Fischer, a former Rufus drummer, doesn’t mind also being identified as one of Natalie Cole’s ex-husbands.

When first I heard about him, all my tipster knew was that one of Cole’s exes was now living in the Twin Cities. I recently learned the reason: Fischer was born in Minneapolis, and he’s chosen Minnesota as the place to raise the youngest of his five children.

Fischer is exec director of the Twin Cities Mobile Jazz Project, which will bring free concerts and music workshops to local parks this summer, in partnership with the Minneapolis Parks and Rec Board. The project is having a fundraiser Thursday from 4-7 p.m. at the Dakota.

Fischer wants to expose local kids “to an American art form, jazz, and also some history, and also give them some basic music lessons and some exposure to culture. We believe that creativity is as important in education as literacy.”

Among those booked this summer are “Alan Broadbent, the Jeff Hamilton Trio with Tamir Hendelman, and there will be more,” said Fischer.

What about Natalie Cole?

“First of all, Natalie is not really a jazz singer. But you know, I haven’t called Sweetie to ask her about this. Quite a few of my other friends, like Herbie Hancock, I’ve called.”

Wait a minute, you call your ex “Sweetie”?

“Yeah. We’re divorced. We didn’t shoot each other,” he said. “I respect her. I don’t have some bone to pick. Certain things don’t work out. She’s still friends with my children. I made three great records with her. ”

Fischer has also produced for Tony Bennett, Gladys Knight, Dusty Springfield, the Temptations, Lou Rawls and Nina Simone’s final album, “A Single Woman,” to name a few.

Mother Goose

A Canada goose has decided to lay eggs in the parking lot of the St. Louis Park Costco. There’s startribune.com/video of the bird I’m calling Gloria Gooseman because she looked ready to call: All right, Mr. DeBille, I’m ready for my close-up.

Feel free to Google the line.


C.J. can be reached at cj@startribune.com.