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Jay Leno Compares Russia to Nazi Germany, Meredith Vieira Calls for Sochi Protests (Video)

The two NBC personalities are torn on the Sochi Winter Olympics

The jokes were set aside — at least for a minute — on Monday’s “Tonight Show,” as Meredith Vieira and Jay Leno tackled the debate surrounding the setting for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The two got deep for a bit on the NBC late night talk show, discussing their mixed feelings on the network’s coverage of the Sochi Games.

Leno asked fellow NBC personality Vieira if she is excited about the upcoming event, to which she replied. “I have sort of mixed feelings given all the stuff that’s going on in Russia with Putin and the anti-gay legislation.”

Also read: Yahoo and NBC Extend Sports Partnership to 2014 Winter Olympics

Vieira told Leno that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s politics created much internal debate about attending the Games versus boycotting them, but ultimately she and her colleagues decided that the event is about the athletes — a sentiment that many torn media members have shared in recent months.

Vieira added, “But I really hope that people demonstrate there. I’m hoping that at least people wear the ribbons — and I think they will.”

When Leno asked Vieira if she thinks Russia’s anti-gay laws will impact the Games, she replied, “I think Putin would be crazy to do anything during the time that people are there, but then, I think he’s a little off-the-wall.”

Also read: NBC’s Bob Greenblatt: ‘SNL’ Diversity Moves ‘Being Finalized’

Leno then somewhat uncomfortably added, “This is how it started in Nazi Germany: ‘Oh the Jews, let’s put them over here.'”

The clip cuts off there, but his heart was in the right place.

Watch the clip: