Ex 'Tonight Show' Host Jay Leno Rips Late-Night Shows for 'One-Sided' Politics without 'Civility'

Junie Sihlangu
Mar 14, 2019
01:13 P.M.
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This week, former “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno was interviewed on the “Today” show. He opened up about his views on how his old show has since started focusing on politics.


The former host explained how he found the new direction disappointing.

On Tuesday, “Today” show co-host Al Roker started off the third hour of “Today” show interview by asking Jay Leno, 68, if he missed working on his former “Late Night” show. Without hesitation, the legendary television host replied, “No, it’s different.”


Leno further explained:

“I don’t miss it. You know, everything now… everyone has to know your politics. I tried to use Johnny’s model, and I would get hate mail from both sides equally and thought ‘well that’s fabulous, that’s exactly what I want.’”


He added:

“But when people see you as one-sided, it makes it tough. And, you know, I did it when Clinton was horny and Bush was dumb, and it was just a little easier. Now it’s all very serious, I’d just like to see a bit of civility come back to it."


Despite his criticism, the host defended the current “Late-Night” hosts by making a joke about President Donald Trump saying:

“People say, ‘oh, it must be easy to do jokes with Trump’. It’s actually harder because the punchline of the joke used to be, ‘That’s like the president with a porn star.’ Well now the president is with a porn star, where do you go with that?”


Leno explained that in the past the show was about “people just watched the news, we’ll make fun of the news and get your mind off the news.” However now, “people just want to be on the news all the time, you just have one subject, one topic every night.”


He noted that this made it difficult “when that’s the only topic out there.” Leno left “Late-Night” in 2014, with Stephen Colbert hosting his own one with a highly political program that has received high ratings.


Jimmy Kimmel also took the more political route which has brought his show success too. Leno’s direct successor, Jimmy Fallon has struggled to stay relevant since Trump came out in 2016.

On Wednesday, Leno appeared on Fallon’s “Tonight Show” to give a monologue where he ranted about a variety of things. The television host shared how he was tired of stores within other stores, like a Coffee Bean inside a grocery store.

He joked, “And inside the Coffee Bean was a Starbucks.”

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