Jay Leno isn’t laughing at what has become of late-night television.
The former “Tonight Show” host revealed in a new interview that he is disappointed with how politics has taken on such a prominent role in the genre he dominated for years.
Leno kicked off the interview by being asked by “Today” show co-host Al Roker if he misses his former gig, to which the 68-year-old emphatically replied, “no.”
“I don’t miss it. You know, everything now… everyone has to know your politics,” Leno said. “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’.”
“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."
He added: “Now it’s all very serious, I’d just like to see a bit of civility come back to it."
Despite complaining about how much politics has taken over the airwaves, Leno still managed to take a shot at President Trump while defending his late-night successors.
“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 joked.
"The theory when we watched the show was people just watched the news, we’ll make fun of the news and get your mind off the news.
“Now people just want to be on the news all the time, you just have one subject, one topic every night. It makes it very tough. All the comics – Jimmy, Colbert, everybody else – it’s tough when that’s the only topic out there.”
Since Leno left behind late-night in 2014, Stephen Colbert's highly political program has surged to the top of the ratings pile. Jimmy Kimmel has also found success embracing a more political act, while Jimmy Fallon -- Leno's apolitical, direct successor -- has struggled after the emergence of Donald Trump in 2016.