After making his name as Johnny Carson’s replacement on The Tonight Show, Jay Leno has largely retreated from the public eye since passing the torch to Jimmy Fallon. In light of the tumultuous presidential campaigns that continue to dominate the news cycle, Leno was recently asked whether he misses taking nightly jabs at the political elite.
The simple answer, it seems, is no.
“I came up in the era when Clinton was horny and Bush was dumb,” Leno said of the jokes that populated his monologues. “It was a simpler, funny time. Now it is all race baiting and homophobia and Islamophobia.”
Though he has received credit in the past for not swaying too far in either partisan direction, Leno’s harshest critique was aimed at presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump — whom he said he had no interest in interviewing.
“There are still plenty of jokes there,” he said, “but there is an ugliness to this campaign that I don’t find attractive at all, and I really don’t want to joke about somebody saying, ‘All Muslims should be kicked out of the country’ or, ‘Because a guy is Mexican, he can’t be a judge.'”