LOS ANGELES: If leaving the storied function of The Tonight Show host mandates retirement, Jay Leno ignored the memo.
Since his longtime late-night gig led to 2014, Leno has stored up a brisk tempo. He pops up recurrently on TV tasks from fellow comedians Jerry Seinfeld, Larry Wilmore, Tim Allen, Dennis Miller and others.
His ardour for something with wheels and an engine is on show in Jay Lenos Garage, returning Sept. 22 on CNBC. And he’s received a brand new recreation present, a syndicated reboot of You Bet Your Life, debuting Monday (verify native listings for instances, stations).
Everything previous The Tonight Show’ was gravy, Leno stated. So the actual fact I’ve something going is enjoyable.
You Bet Your Life first aired from 1950 to 1961 with famed comic Groucho Marx, adopted by a short-lived 1992 remake with Bill Cosby. In the brand new model, Leno shares host duties with Kevin Eubanks, the previous Tonight band chief who’d gleefully rib the comic when a joke fell flat.
People appear to love that camaraderie, as a result of we’re buddies and we all know one another, Leno stated.
One of Leno’s temp jobs, a visitor decide on America’s Got Talent in 2019, had critical repercussions. He was condemned for making an unaired joke about Koreans primarily based on a racist stereotype, and later apologized.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Leno mentioned following within the game-show footsteps of a comedy nice, what makes for an excellent contestant and the dangers of topical humor. Remarks have been flippantly edited for readability and brevity.
AP: Why add the sport present to your plate?
A: It looks like the time is ripe for this type of present. Its actually gentle and its enjoyable and has no politics concerned. And its very various. We have folks from each stroll of life: Black, white, folks from Nigeria, India. But theres by no means any foolish stereotype nonsense, its simply folks coming collectively and attempting to win some cash. And its actually been quite a lot of enjoyable. We shoot six episodes a day and so they simply fly alongside as a result of its all advert lib. I dont see the contestants earlier than the present. Theres no PR individual going, Do not point out my shoppers cocaine bust or divorce. You dont get any of that.
AP: Contestants are extra media savvy than they have been in Groucho Marx’s day, and extra prone to play to the digital camera. How does that have an effect on the present?
Leno: When you do a present in L.A., the most cost effective, best solution to do it’s to get folks inside 10 miles of the studio, (and) in the event that they’re not in present enterprise they’ve some connection to it. For the final yr we despatched out feelers to Florida, Louisiana, throughout, and we fly folks in. We select those that appear like characters. And you actually see after they come right here, theyre like, Its my first time in L.A. and oh my God. Theres an pleasure and a nervousness you dont get from the individuals who stumble upon Brad Pitt on daily basis on the deli.
AP: You have been a child when You Bet Your Life aired. Was watching Marx inspirational for you as a comic?
Leno: He was all the time my favourite Marx brother as a result of I by no means was a placed on a humorous hat, throw a pie type of comic. I all the time preferred folks with verbal expertise: Bob Newhart, Johnny Carson. I preferred individuals who appeared regular however stated humorous issues, versus placing on costumes. I loved the Marx Brothers motion pictures, however I preferred Groucho as a result of he was the sensible man.
AP: Do you miss internet hosting a late-night present and the discussion board it gave you for comedy?
Leno: It was nice enjoyable. I loved doing the monologue, that’s my favourite half. And I get pleasure from all people that’s on there now. I watch the monologues, and I dont watch interviews an excessive amount of, as a result of I talked to that man (the celeb). But I actually (respect) how onerous it’s to do a unique model of the identical joke each night time. Because lets be trustworthy, the information doesnt change an entire lot from daily. It adjustments from week to week. And then it’s important to watch all the opposite reveals, be sure to dont have the identical joke as Conan or Samantha Bee or whoever it could be.
AP: You stated that comedy doesn’t change, however the targets do. When you look again at jokes that drew criticism, do you say these have been the instances or do you wince?
Leno: When folks have been within the information, you probably did jokes in regards to the information. I may give you an excellent instance. When Amy Winehouse, who was on The Tonight Show, was singing that music about I wont go to rehab,’ there have been quite a lot of jokes about that. Then she died after which folks have been, Jay Leno did a joke. But I did it together with her blessing, she was there (on Tonight) after I did it. But, you understand, you solely stay within the time you reside in.
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