President Donald Trump was quick to weigh in after former “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno said modern late-night comics are “one-sided” in their political attacks.
“Actually, the one-sided hatred on these shows is incredible and for me, unwatchable,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday. “But remember, WE are number one – President!”
In an interview during the third hour of “Today” Wednesday, Leno said he doesn’t miss the days of doing “The Tonight Show” because now, “everyone has to know your politics.” He added that Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel and the rest have it harder now than when he was hosting “The Tonight Show” because everyone is so focused on the political news cycle.
“When people see you as one-sided, it just makes it tough,” Leno said. “I did it when Clinton was horny and Bush was dumb. It was a little easier. Now it’s all very serious. I’d just like to see a little civility come back to it.”
Leno’s comments actually inspired an early tweet from the President himself, who heard a paraphrased quote from the Leno interview on “Fox & Friends” and ran with it to call out the late night comics for being “totally one-sided.”
That’s not to say Leno let Trump off easy, he just said it’s harder to make comedy in the Trump era.
“Everyone says, it must be easy to do jokes with Trump. No, it’s actually harder,” Leno said. “Because the punch-line of the joke used to be, ‘It’s like the President is with a porn star.’ Well now the President is with a porn star! Where do you go with that? How do you get more outrageous than that?”
Leno said he always followed Johnny Carson’s model in hoping that your audience could never figure out your politics, and he admitted he would get hate mail from both sides of the aisle equally. Of course, that’s not the only thing that’s changed in the appetite for late night comedy.
“The theory when we did the show was, you just watched the news, we’ll make fun of the news and get your mind off the news,” Leno said. “Now people just want to be on the news all the time. You just have one subject, the same topic every night.”
Watch Leno’s “Today” segment above.
“Jay Leno points out that comedy (on the very boring late night shows) is totally one-sided. It’s tough when there’s only one topic.” @foxandfriends Actually, the one-sided hatred on these shows is incredible and for me, unwatchable. But remember, WE are number one – President!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2019