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Among the many questions asked of outgoing “The Tonight Show” host Jay Leno during an extensive interview with the Hollywood Reporter that was recently posted online was this: “Don’t you have the urge to fire back?”
The interviewer, THR’s TV editor Lacey Rose, was referring to Leno’s response when confronted with public vitriol from other comics — and there’s been plenty, including barbs from ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel (who once donned a prosthetic chin and jabbed Leno on-air) and Leno’s formerly good pal David Letterman. Much of the mockery came after Leno was briefly replaced by now-TBS host Conan O’Brien before reclaiming his former slot.
Anyway, here’s the first part of Leno’s response:
“But that doesn’t serve the purpose. Rich people whining and complaining? Shut up. You make more money than 99 percent of the population and you’re complaining and whining. My job is to go out there and be a comedian. That’s what I do.”
Rose also asked, “How do you feel as you read “F— Jay Leno”?
Leno: Is it a joke? Is it funny? You know, Letterman and I have had a fun relationship because when Letterman says something, it’s funny. “F— Jay?” Is there anyone that reads that and says, “Ah! Clever! He said F— Jay. And then he said it again! And then the next day, he said it again!”
For the rest of his answers as well as further thoughts on Letterman, his take on “Tonight Show” successor Jimmy Fallon, the influence of his mother and what his next act might be, click here.