Jay Leno: Not a Republican
Nikki Finke has a long interview with Jay Leno in LA Weekly entitled “Does Mr. Middle-of-the-Road Lean Left?” It dispells the notion held by some that Leno is a conservative. The piece gives insights into the Tonight Show host’s keen judgment and awareness of what his role is.
A couple of amusing and/or insightful excerpts:
You went totally hog-wild with the French jokes.
Well, thereÃ¢€™s nothing funnier to me than the French. The French Resistance is probably the biggest mythical joke that ever existed. There were four guys in the French Resistance. They couldnÃ¢€™t hand over the Jewish people fast enough. Oh, please, donÃ¢€™t tell me about the French. The French have all sorts of secret deals with Saddam and everybody else for two cents a liter. ItÃ¢€™s an easy target.
The ratings are laughs . . . if it got a big laugh. I always say comics make the mistake that they start off as comedians, then they become humorists, then they become satirists, then they become commentators, then theyÃ¢€™re out of show business. ThatÃ¢€™s sort of the way it goes. I donÃ¢€™t want to be preached to as a member of the audience. I like to hear a joke. And if IÃ¢€™ve learned something after IÃ¢€™ve laughed, well, thatÃ¢€™s pretty good. And if IÃ¢€™ve learned something before IÃ¢€™ve laughed, I donÃ¢€™t enjoy it as much.
I suspect that Letterman is more anti-Bush than you.
Does he show his dislike maybe a little more than I do? Probably. But to me, Dave is a TV broadcaster. I am a comedian. ItÃ¢€™s just different. My job is to get laughs. For what IÃ¢€™m doing, sometimes sarcasm and irony do not work as well as a joke. But I donÃ¢€™t think our politics are probably much different. IÃ¢€™m also at a disadvantage. Because you know you can never ask Dave to answer any of these questions.
And Dan Rather could learn a thing or two from him, too:
My first instinct is always to understand. If people say something about me, I go, Ã¢€œOkay, why do they say it?Ã¢€ When youÃ¢€™re in this business, if something goes wrong, itÃ¢€™s always your fault. ItÃ¢€™s always my fault because my name is on the show.
The piece gives a pretty clear picture of why the guy is so well liked and has been so successful in a brutally competitive industry for so long.
Warning: Unconstrained by the FCC, Leno uses some colorful language a couple of times.