With decades of experience making audiences laugh, former “The Tonight Show” host Jay Leno is opening up about the current state of comedy.
Speaking with ET Canada’s Sangita Patel ahead of his sold-out stand-up comedy show at Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls, the 68-year-old comedic genius weighs in on actress and comedian Roseanne Barr, whose show “Roseanne” was cancelled by ABC in response to a racist tweet.
“I’ve known Roseanne for 30 years,” Leno says. “I don’t like to denigrate other comics. I mean, obviously there’s a problem there and it’s mental. I think she’s really troubled. You know, I don’t know if I feel sorry.”
Opening up about Sacha Baron Cohen’s controversial show, “Who Is America”, which sees the comic prank politicians under disguise, Leno says, “It just seems mean. I mean, some of those people just seem like nice people that got misled.”
He clarifies, “I mean, obviously he exposed some real creepy, awful people,” adding, “[but,] to trick them into saying [certain things], it makes some people feel empathy for them, which, to me, backfires.”
With the current heated political climate in America with U.S. President Donald Trump, Leno, who hosted “The Tonight Show” over a span of four presidencies, says that covering politics today in comedy has changed.
“I’m just glad I’m not doing it now,” he says. “I’ll throw a few jokes in. But, for the most part now, people go see performers who they agree with. I mean, I’m from an era where you make fun of both sides.”
Leno has since focused his attention on his love of cars with his hit YouTube series, “Jay Leno’s Cars”, where the comedian and his famous friends gush about their common love of motor vehicles.