Jay Leno is the latest celeb to pay a visit to Kevin Hart’s new Peacock talk show, “Hart to Heart”, with the two sharing a discussion heavily rooted in comedy.
At one point, Hart asks Leno to single out the comedians who made the biggest impact on his life.
“Oh, Kevin Rooney… there’s just so many,” Leno told Hart. “Seinfeld, we all started at the same time. You know, when we started, all the comics would come to each other’s ‘Tonight Show’ [spots]. People think it’s this horrible cutthroat business, but other comics will always get you more work than any agent.”
In fact, Leno recalled, Steve Martin and Harvey Korman each brought Johnny Carson to see him perform when he was starting out, leading to Leno’s breakthrough debut on “The Tonight Show” — which he would eventually go on to host.
“And I brought Johnny in to see Ellen DeGeneres, and we all helped one another,” Leno explained.
Leno also recalled one of his final experiences with the legendary Rodney Dangerfield before his 2004 death. According to Leno, Dangerfield was getting big laughs while appearing on “Tonight”, but Leno could see something was off. Suspecting Dangerfield was having a stroke, he told one of the producers to call the paramedics.
“Well, he did have a stroke,” Leno said, which was followed by “another stroke a little while later, and this one laid him out.”
When Leno visited the comatose Dangerfield at the hospital, Dangerfield’s wife, Joan, told Leno that she believed her husband could hear them, and told him to place his finger in Dangerfield’s hand. Joan then whispered to Rodney, telling him, “If you know it’s Jay, squeeze his finger.”
“So I feel a little squeeze, and I go, ‘Rodney, that’s not my finger,'” said Leno, revealing his joke led Dangerfield to convulse.
“He moved,” Leno recalled, “and I felt so good that I made Rodney move.”