Rosie O'Donnell: Jay Leno Should "Walk Away"

Entertainment Jan. 15, 2010 AT 9:33AM
Rosie O'Donnell: Jay Leno Should "Walk Away" Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images; Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Rosie O'Donnell is urging Jay Leno to step down.

"I think he should walk away," she said at press tour Thursday while promoting her new HBO special A Family is a Family is a Family.

"If you're privileged enough to drive the bus, you should say, 'Thank you' and drive it to the best of your ability, and when it's time for them to hire a new driver, you should say 'Thank you for allowing me to drive this as long as I did' and pass the keys to the new guy with red hair, and not try to flatten his tires before he even gets going," she added.

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She said she plans to reach out to O'Brien. "I will definitely talk to him," she said. "I've heard from a lot of his staff."

O’Donnell said O’Brien -- who recently said he would not accept NBC’s request to move The Tonight Show to 12:05 a.m. -- is "a fantastic talent."

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"I think shame on [NBC President] Jeff Zucker and really, shame on Jay Leno," she went on. "I think he’s forgotten his roots and what stand up comedy is about, and graciousness has never been his No. 1 quality. … I think it would serve him well to think about what might happen if he were able to let go and grab on to whatever the next rung is."

Asked if she'd like to join the late night scene, she said: "That question today is like asking if I'd want to have a vacation in Haiti. While I hear that's an enjoyable place, this isn't the time to go."

O'Donnell has previously taken to her blog to urge Leno to quit.

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"Just watched Jay bully his way back into college so he could be quarterback still - again," she wrote.

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