Considering that Jay Leno does not do a whole lot of interviews, his recent chat with The Hollywood Reporter is made all the more interesting. In one of the most candid interviews that we have seen to date, he opens up extensively on almost everyone in the late-night comedy world, and also what he perceives his future in it to be.
Let’s start with that first and foremost, as Jay makes it very clear that he has no plans to ever host “The Tonight Show” again. He will not come back in the same way that he did back when Conan O’Brien was let go from the gig. He hasn’t ruled out a TV show in some capacity, but is going to take his time thinking about it and has not made up his mind what he wants to do. Instead, he is going to take off and immediately start performing some more standup gigs across the country.
As for his colleagues, Leno has great respect for Jimmy Fallon, but isn’t so keen per se on some of Jimmy Kimmel’s comedy stylings. He specifically took issue with the fact that Kimmel using “f*** you, Jay Leno” is premise enough for a joke; instead, he says that he prefers comedy such as David Letterman’s, where he creates a larger premise out of some of the jokes that are at his expensive.
Leno goes in-depth in the interview about just what sort of relationship that he now has with Dave, a good two decades after the first bit of controversy took place with “The Tonight Show”:
“Dave and I have an interesting relationship in that when he came to town I think he admired my ability to perform and I admired his ability to weave sentences and phrases. When he would get up at the Comedy Store, he was not a natural stand-up, so he was a little nervous. I think he’d watch me and I would just sort of plow ahead and be loud. He sort of admired that, and I admired his ability to be subtle. So I learned from Dave the subtleties of doing a joke, and I think he learned from me how to really sell a joke. So there was always a mutual admiration, and we always made each other laugh.”
For the record, Leno also said that he has not spoken to Conan since the previous NBC fiasco, and he has no reason to pick a phone and call the man.
We’ll say this in the end about Jay: He’s an interesting guy to listen to based on the stories that he has to tell, and he does have to be commended for keeping “The Tonight Show” #1 for decades. Whether or not you like his comedy doesn’t really matter.
We’re going to have much more in the way of conversation about Leno coming up, as we start to slowly near his exit from the show next week. For now, we recommend signing up for our CarterMatt Newsletter if you want some more updates from us.