Former “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno said that he doesn’t miss hosting his late-night gig because now “everyone has to know your politics.”
Leno Suggested that the current host have failed to learn what he learned from Johnny Carson: not to let yourself appear to be “one-sided.“
During his appearance on NBC’s “TODAY” on Tuesday, the hosts of the show began an exchange by saying, “So it’s been five years since you left ‘The Tonight Show,’ and you see the place we are right now in this country. Do you miss being on the show? Or is it such a different time that it would be hard to do?” The Hill reported.
“No, it’s different — I don’t miss it,” said Leno. “You know, everything now is if people don’t like your politics — everyone has to know your politics.”
“I kind of used Johnny [Carson]’s model,” he explained. “People couldn’t figure out: ‘Well, you and your Republican friends…’ or ‘Well, Mr. Leno, you and your Democratic buddies…’ And I would get hate mail from both sides equally. And I went, ‘Well that’s fabulous! That’s exactly what I want.'”
The hosts reacted enthusiastically to Jay Leno’s response.
“But when people see you as one-sided, it just makes it tough,” Leno said. “And plus, I did it when, you know, Clinton was horny and Bush was dumb, and it was just a little easier,” he added, a sentence that got even more laughs from the NBC team.
“You know, now it’s all very serious, everything so, so na—” he said, stopping himself mid-line. “I’d just like to see a bit of civility come back to it, you know?”
“People say, ‘Oh, it must be easy to do jokes with Trump,'” Leno continued. “No, it’s actually harder because the punch line 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?! … How do you get more outrageous than that?! Exactly.”
Asked if he thinks the pendulum will swing back the other way, former host Leno said, “Of course, I think it will swing back the other way.”
Watch the video below (comments begin around the 3:30 mark):
Jay Leno began hosting “The Tonight Show” back in 1987 and took over as full-time host back in 1992, when Johnny Carson retired. He dominated the late-night scene until his retirement back in 2014, when his replacement Jimmy Fallon took the reigns. Fallon drew the outrage of progressive viewers for interviewing Donald Trump back in 2016.
“It just got bigger and out of control,” Jimmy Fallon told The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter back in June 2018 regarding the backlash against him for inviting on Donald Trump.
“People just jump on the train, and some people don’t even want to hear anything else. They’re like, ‘No, you did that!’ You go, ‘Well, just calm down and just look at the whole thing and actually see my body of work.'” It was “definitely a down time” said Fallon amid all the backlash, and morale really dropped on the show.
“I’m sorry,” he said for having President Trump on his show. “I don’t want to make anyone angry — I never do and I never will. It’s all in the fun of the show. I made a mistake. I’m sorry if I made anyone mad. And, looking back, I would do it differently.”
President Donald Trump responded to host Jimmy Fallon in his well known manner, telling him to “Be a man.”
Meanwhile Jay Leno is no longer hosting a show, he is a regular guest on Tim Allen’s “Last Man Standing,” which is now over at Fox after ABC inexplicably dropped the show, a decision that drew accusations of their political bias.