Former talk show hosts are coming out of the woodwork this week: first with David Letterman giving an interview to Vulture and now, Jay Leno is getting back out there, to hype his upcoming show at DC’s Kennedy Center.
The longtime Tonight Show hosts seems to be in good spirits – and he’s definitely back on the stand-up scene, apparently averaging over 200 shows per year in “retirement.”
“I was a stand-up comedian before I got The Tonight Show and I was a stand-up comedian during The Tonight Show, and now that the show is over, that’s what I’m back to doing again,” Leno tells Washington’s Top News. “It’s fun! I actually like it. It’s actually really good.”
Just because Leno’s a comedy icon now, doesn’t mean he can do whatever he wants onstage – the other week, a poorly-timed Patriots joke almost got him booed offstage in Boston, his own hometown.
But Leno doesn’t mind – he’s never shied away from saying controversial stuff onstage, or from encouraging his guests to spill on their latest scandals.
“We Americans will accept anything except hypocrisy because we’re very forgiving,” he says. “I remember once Charlie Sheen was on and he said, ‘I just like hookers and cocaine,’ and the audience applauded! I go, ‘Why are you applauding?’ They’re applauding because he was so honest.”
Read the full interview here for lots of inside info on Leno’s 2014 Mark Twain Prize win, his early stand-up days, and his transition onto The Tonight Show/