Jay Leno Calls For Less Partisanship In Late Night – John Oliver Fires Back
Last week, former “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno lamented on NBC’s “Today Show” about the ever-growing political nature and partisanship on display on late night television. John Oliver, a current late-night host on Comedy Central, is having none of Jay Leno‘s civility talk and instead decided to point out some of Leno’s past off-color political humor from his hosting days.
“Many comedians have since expressed regret about things they have said about [Monica Lewinsky], although one who hasn’t – and was among the most relentless – was Jay Leno,” Oliver rebutted over Leno’s critique.
“Those jokes have not dated well in any sense of the word. And they are pretty rough, especially coming from a guy who just this week complained about late night TV saying that he would like to see ‘a bit of civility come back’,” he continued.
The point John Oliver seems to miss is that what Jay Leno was doing was not exposing his political opinions like so many late-night hosts are wont to do today. What Leno and his predecessor, Johnny Carson, excelled at was making jokes about the news of the day, regardless of whether the subject was a Democrat or a Republican.
Late-night, then versus now.
“You know, everything now… everyone has to know your politics,” Jay Leno, 68, 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.”
But today’s late-night hosts haven’t demurred about the fact that they are leftwing individuals in their personal lives and they choose to bring it on the air, to their admitted detriment.
Subscribe and get our daily emails and follow us on social media.
By opting in, you agree to receive emails with the latest in Lifestyle + Entertainment from TellMeNow. Your information will not be shared with or sold to 3rd parties.
Jimmy Kimmel said “riddance” to the 30 percent of Republican viewers who said they stopped watching his show because of his on-air advocacy of Democratic policies and talking points.
Leno argues that kind of attitude ought to be left off-air.
“Now it’s all very serious, I’d just like to see a bit of civility come back to it,” he added to his comments on the “Today Show.”
Rather than taking the veteran hosts advice, the 41-year-old Oliver pulled jokes Leno made about Monica Lewinsky during the Clinton scandal in the late 1990s.
Leno mentioned he made those jokes, but his point was that they weren’t the only jokes he made and they weren’t married with blatant stumping for any particular political party or policy.
Leno appreciated the hate mail that came at him from both sides because it meant his audience was wide and varied. Today’s hosts are fine with alienating audiences and don’t care if the side that isn’t theirs simply stops watching. It’s too bad Oliver and his late-night host colleagues would rather point fingers than take some advice from a man who mastered the “Tonight Show” audience for decades.
Leave a Comment