Stephen M. Silverman
April 01, 2008 12:15 PM

Jay Leno’s nice-guy reputation is taking a beating from the gay community and others after NBC’s Tonight Show host made some recent on-air remarks deemed highly inappropriate.

Apparently attempting to become playful during his interview with guest Ryan Phillippe (whose appearance was keyed to his new movie Stop-Loss), Leno, 57, said to the actor, “Can you give me, like – say that camera is your gay lover …”

Despite Phillippe’s instant discomfort, Leno went on to say, “Can you give me your ‘gayest look’? Say that camera is Billy Bob – Billy Bob has just ridden in shirtless from Wyoming.”

“Wow,” replied Phillippe, 33. “That is so something I don’t want to do. Are you just going to embarrass me tonight, or … ?”

“No,” said Leno. “I got more stuff. This is the least of it.”

Among those in the home audience who quickly took offense, reports USA Today, was Tony-winning Avenue Q librettist Jeff Whitty, 36.

On his personal blog, Whitty flashes Leno what he considers his “gayest look” – which involves a well-known gesture with his middle finger. Whitty also asks, “Would you ask a guest to make their ‘blackest face?’ Their ‘Jewiest face?’ ”

Following suit, others have posted their “gayest looks” for Leno – also involving the same gesture – at the newly created Web site, My Gayest Look.

Leno and his reps have not responded to requests for comment.

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