Former NBC “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno said of political jokes that he “always liked to humiliate and degrade both sides equally” on Wednesday, suggesting current talk show hosts instead all do versions of the same joke.
Leno added during an appearance on “The View” on Wednesday that he loves all of the current crop of late-night hosts including the politically heavy Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel and Samantha Bee.
The comments on the ABC opinion program come after Leno told the third hour of NBC’s “Today” show that he doesn’t miss hosting a late-night show and lamented that “everyone has to know your politics” in an interview with Al Roker.
Leno also added Wednesday morning that he “used Johnny’s model. 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,” Leno said, referring to his predecessor at “The Tonight Show,” Johnny Carson.
“The View” co-host Joy Behar brought up Leno’s earlier comments on the afternoon show.
“You don’t like the idea that the late night comics are so one-sided. Is that true?” co-host Joy Behar asked.
“No, it’s not that I don’t like the idea,” Leno replied. “It’s just the fact that all the jokes, it’s kind of the same joke.”
“I love them all, Samantha [Bee] and Jimmy [Fallon] and the other Jimmy [Kimmel] and [Stephen] Colbert, but you’re all kind of the doing a different version of the same joke. That was my whole point. To me, I always like to humiliate and degrade both sides equally,” he told “The View.”
“One side is doing such a good job of humiliating and degrading themselves!” said co-host Ana Navarro, a former Republican strategist.
“Well, that’s true, that’s true,” Leno agreed.
Behar went on to say that she performed stand up comedy until former President Obama took office but lost interest because “there was nothing to make fun of there.”
President TrumpDonald John TrumpGary Cohn says Trump trade adviser the only economist in world who believes in tariffs House transportation committee chairman threatens to subpoena Boeing, FAA communication Pentagon sets new limits on transgender service members MOREcommented on Leno’s point Wednesday morning after the talk show host’s comments were discussed in a segment on “Fox & Friends.”
“The one-sided hatred on these shows is incredible and for me, unwatchable,” Trump tweeted to his more than 59 million followers. “But remember, WE are number one — President!”
Leno, 68, initially left “The Tonight Show” in 2009 but returned in 2010 after the show experienced a tumultuous run with host Conan O’Brien.
He left again in February 2014, while still leading his competition on CBS and ABC in the late-night ratings race, and was replaced by Jimmy Fallon, a former “Saturday Night Live” cast member.
Fallon initially beat CBS’s Stephen Colbert and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel in the late-night ratings race, but once Trump declared his candidacy in June 2015, late-night shows became dominated by political news and opinion.
As a result, Colbert, a frequent critic of Trump who formerly hosted the political satire show “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central, eventually jumped ahead of Fallon.