The folks at 60 Minutes certainly got an earful from Jay Leno.
The comedian recently bid farewell to The Tonight Show, allowing former Saturday Night Live cast member Jimmy Fallon to slid behind the desk. Although Leno has certainly benefited financially from his time in the entertainment industry, he doesn’t exactly have a very high opinion of the business.
“I always tell new people in show business, ‘Look, show business pays you a lot of money because eventually you’re going to get screwed. And when you get screwed, you will have this pile of money off to the side. That’s the way it works,” Leno told 60 Minutes.
Jay Leno even had a few nice things to say about his replacement. Although he also shared some positive words about Conan O’Brien when he moved into The Tonight Show set, Leno believes that Fallon should have no trouble taking the reins.
“It’s not my decision and I think I probably would have stayed if we didn’t have an extremely qualified, young guy ready to jump in. [Jimmy Fallon] is probably more like a young Johnny [Carson] than almost anybody since. And he’s really good. So you go with the new guy. Makes perfect sense to me,” he explained to 60 Minutes.
However, Leno said that he felt “blindsided” by the NBC executives when they told him he was no longer the host of The Tonight Show. He likened the split with the network to losing a girlfriend but not knowing the reasons why.
Although Leno told 60 Minutes that he would have preferred to keep working, it doesn’t look like he’s going to get a third chance to prove his worth to NBC. Fallon recently fired the entire The Tonight Show staff to make room for his own employees.
According to Jimmy Fallon, NBC executives have left him alone while he prepares to take over the desk from Jay Leno. Since he’s already proven himself to the network, they’ve allowed him to take matters into his own hands.
He recently told Billboard:
“No one tells me [to do] anything — they see what we’ve done with our show. At one point, they said I couldn’t host the Emmys: ‘No one will watch if you host it. You have too young of an audience.’ We hosted the Emmys and did what we normally do on our show. Its ratings were up from the year before. With ‘The Tonight Show,’ they’re kind of just letting me do it.”
What did you think of Jay Leno’s interview with 60 Minutes? Are you sad to see the guy leave The Tonight Show?