Jay Leno: "Mean Streak" to Blame for Jimmy Kimmel's Lower Ratings
"I think he’s a talented guy, I think he’s funny. But he has a mean streak, and it comes across."
As Jay Leno prepares to return to TV in Oct. 7 with CNBC's Jay Leno's Garage, he's still got some things to say about the late night landscape.
In an interview with TV Insider, Leno expressed appreciation for the next generation of late night hosts, saying, " I like Seth [Meyers], I like Jimmy [Fallon]. I think [Stephen] Colbert will be really good. But he’s a truly nice guy and decent human being. "
Leno then used Colbert's characteristic decency to take a jab at Jimmy Kimmel (whom Leno has famously beefed with for years). "The most [important] element you can have in doing a late night show is kindness," Leno said of Colbert. "Because the show makes you arrogant. I think that’s Jimmy Kimmel’s problem. I think he’s a talented guy, I think he’s funny. But he has a mean streak, and it comes across. He does this thing where he takes Halloween candy from kids and the kids cry. What am I missing here? It is funny I guess, but it’s mean-based. I think that’s why he’s not higher in the ratings."
Leno also explained why he hadn't reunited with Letterman on screen before The Late Show ended: "When I did my last show, I asked Dave to send a 10-second tape. No, they didn’t want to do it. All right, so why would I go all the way to New York? It’s just quid pro quo.
"I went to New York and did the Oprah [Super Bowl] commercial for Dave. And that’s not anything against Dave, he’s just an odd duck. Kind of socially awkward, I don’t know. We go back a long time, we have a lot of history. Not bad history," said Leno. "We started out together, I think we both complemented each other when we started out. I didn’t know what Dave’s attitude would be, so we just didn’t do it."
As for his own work? Leno revealed that in addition to gearing up (pun intended) for his new show, he's also been on the road doing stand-up 210 days this year.