Jay Leno has some advice for our late-night hosts: take a Trump break.
Leno was recently interviewed for The Hollywood Reporter’s “Awards Chatter” podcast, and talked about the current climate of late-night television and how it differs from when he was hosting “The Tonight Show.” Donald Trump fatigue might have something to do with it.
“I was lucky. I did it at a time when Bush was dumb and Clinton was horny,” he said about his time as a late-night host. “I didn’t question anybody’s motive, I just questioned their judgement. Now, I find it’s anti-women, it’s anti-gay. There’s a negative ... I miss the silly factor. I think the reason Fallon is number one ― and I think he’s number one again, its been close this year, it’s back and forth ― is because, at some point, you want to use TV as an escape. Look, I just want to have a few laughs before I go to bed, that’s all.”
“The Tonight Show” has, in fact, seen a boost as of late, when it topped Stephen Colbert’s “Late Show” in overall audience Memorial Week while in repeats, which is noteworthy after weeks of trailing “The Late Show” in total viewers since the Inauguration. NBC’s Fallon-hosted show also came out on top for the week of June 12-16 in the 18-49 demographic, TV By The Numbers previously reported. It has consistently held this demo over the Colbert competition.
Leno ― who, similarly to Fallon, mostly steered clear of politics during his run on “The Tonight Show” before bowing out in 2014 ― isn’t defending Trump. He doesn’t like him and he didn’t vote for him. But he would like to see things “played a little more down the center.”
“I don’t like Trump, I can’t stand the guy, I don’t like him personally,” he said, per THR. “But the constant negative Trump stuff on a nightly basis? I think it has a debilitating effect on people. People are just, ‘Oh, gosh, I don’t wanna watch TV anymore. This is just the same thing every night.’”
Head over to THR for Leno’s full interview.