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Jay Leno, host of NBC's "The Tonight Show" and a frequent Las Vegas headliner, will give a free performance Saturday at the MGM Grand hotel-casino.

"I talked to some friends in Las Vegas and they said the town is pretty empty," Leno told the Associated Press. "Las Vegas has been good to me and I wanted to give something back. I thought it would be fun to do."

Leno announced his plans during Monday's taping of "The Tonight Show," saying it was a gesture to help boost business on the Las Vegas Strip, where visitor numbers have dropped since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

The comedian said he was prompted to do the free show after hundreds of strip employees lost their jobs when hotel occupancies plummeted after the attacks.

"All I ask is that you tip your waiters and waitresses," Leno said. "We have to turn this situation around."

Leno will perform in the 1,700-seat EFX Theatre.

The performance is open only to Nevada residents or anyone with a Las Vegas hotel room key and an out-of-state driver's license.

"It's a big showroom at MGM," Leno said.

"It will bring in a few thousand people because it's free. When times are good you take your money and when they are bad you give it back."

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