Jay Leno Talks Jimmy Kimmel Feud: "Welcome to Show Business"

Courtesy of NBC
Jay Leno on Wednesday's 'Today'

The former 'Tonight Show' host made three appearances on NBC's 'Today' on Wednesday to promote his new CNBC series, 'Jay Leno's Garage.'

The morning after his surprise appearance on The Tonight Show, Jay Leno continued his New York media tour, making three appearances on NBC's Today show on Wednesday.

Promoting his new car-centric CNBC series, Jay Leno's Garage, which premieres Wednesday night, Leno sat down to talk about the late-night landscape, the presidential race and his new show.

Leno made his first appearance on Today in the 8 o'clock hour, where he began by joking about the 2016 presidential race, "This is proof you get the government you deserve."

Leno's quip came after a clip of him joking about Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and Donald Trump during his Tonight Show appearance, which the former late-night host called "a lot of fun."

"It's fun to go out and do stand-up because that's what I like to do," he said. He continued to praise his replacement, Jimmy Fallon, saying that the host is "closer to Johnny [Carson] than anybody who's ever done this show. ... I think Jimmy's really done a terrific job." But Leno said he was a fan of all the current crop of late-night hosts, naming Fallon, Seth Meyers and new Late Show host Stephen Colbert.

During a later appearance, Leno added, "Jimmy Fallon's still No. 1, so I'm very proud of him."

Seemingly absent from his accolades was Jimmy Kimmel, who's repeatedly lashed out at Leno in the press, with Leno responding in recent months, saying the ABC late-night host has a "mean streak," which is why the ratings for his show aren't as high as they are for Fallon.

When asked about the feud with Kimmel, Leno didn't have much to say, apart from reiterating that he thinks Kimmel's picking fights because of his radio background, adding, "I never had any problems with him. That's fine. Welcome to show business."

During the next hour, after a pretaped segment in which co-host Willie Geist took a tour of Leno's garage, Leno sat down with Geist for a one-on-one chat in which he reiterated his call for more diversity in late night.

"It's time probably for a female host in one of these late-night positions," Leno said. "I think it would be interesting to do, and there are certainly plenty of them out there that are qualified."

But the longtime NBC host also joked that people outside the industry don't pay attention to who's hosting various shows.

"I did a corporate event a couple of months ago. This guy said to me, 'You know, my wife and I really enjoy The Tonight Show.' I said, 'I haven't done it for a while.' 'What?' 'I left about 18 months ago.' 'Oh, you're not on anymore?' No, no,' " Leno explained, laughing. "Nobody pays attention to this stuff. We're the only ones that pay attention to it."

He later stopped by the Kathie Lee Gifford- and Hoda Kotb-hosted 10 o'clock hour, where he played a game with them, and even made a surprise appearance on ABC's The View, wheeling out a birthday cake for co-host Joy Behar and joining The View panelists at the table for a few minutes. And he revealed on Today that he'd be making an appearance on Larry Wilmore's The Nightly Show.

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