Late-night comedy talk shows have become a quagmire of politics. Some of the hosts seem intent on providing their audiences with news. While many are criticizing the hosts partisan attitudes, Jay Leno, once the biggest name in the late-night time slot, is looking back at a time when comedy was less political.
“The last of these former late-night hosts, Jay Leno, senses an imbalance in the comedy Force,” The Daily Wire writes. Leno was interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter and called the current political comedy “depressing.”
“Late-night has always been pretty topical,” Leno said. “The only trouble is now everyone has the same topic. It’s all depressing Trump stuff.”
Topicality is the name of the game. Writing teams work diligently to keep jokes centered on current events, at least for the opening monologues. But the pattern has been established.
“The trouble is that there’s such negativity now,” says Leno. “When I did the show, Bush was dumb and Clinton was horny and it was human problems. Now it’s all anti-women, anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim, anti-Mexican, anti-Salvadoran; it’s such a negative thing.”
“Ultimately, it’s depressing,” he added. “You don’t really watch late-night TV to get away from reality anymore; now it’s more in your face. You laugh but then you go to bed going, ‘Oh man, the world is really pretty rough.’ And it’s not, it’s one man that causes all these problems!”
While Leno is willing to speak out against the political nature of what once was his craft, he is not throwing his allegiance behind President Trump.
The Daily Wire compares Leno to another aging stand-up. While Leno has always had his own political opinions, he had enough professionalism and appreciation for average Americans to set-aside his politics to just tell jokes. The same could be said for Jerry Seinfeld. Both were comedians first and activists second.”
“I had my platform and I enjoyed it for 22 years,” Leno said. “But at some point, it turned into a young person’s game. At some point, you need to step back and say, ‘I did it.’ I was lucky enough to live in a time when we did very well and the show was No. 1 and then say thank you and step back.”
Now, Leno confines his editorials to “Jay Leno’s Garage,” a show about old cars.