“I enjoy bringing people together,” Leno, 67, told Page Six on Wednesday, June 28. “If [mocking the president] is a constant thing on a nightly basis, eventually you’re all doing the same joke.”
The comedian went on to compare the 71-year-old businessman-turned-politician to manipulative and calculating first couple Frank and Claire Underwood on Netflix’s House of Cards. “I remember when House of Cards was a TV show. Now it’s a documentary,” he continued. “You look at the Underwoods. You go, ‘At least this isn’t as bad as the real thing.’”
Leno made similar comments to The New York Times in May when he pointed out that late-night hosts may be overdoing it with jokes about the current administration. “I am not a Trump fan at all, not in the slightest, not in the least,” he said. “But this constant pounding does have a tendency to anesthetize your feelings.”
Jimmy Fallon, who took over The Tonight Show from Leno in 2014, also tries to limit the anti-Trump jokes. “There’s only so many bits you can do,” he told The New York Times in May. “I’m happy that only 50 percent of my monologue is about Trump.”
Although The Tonight Show‘s ratings have fallen, Fallon said he still plans to keep doing what he’s doing amid these divisive times. “I don’t want to be bullied into not being me, and not doing what I think is funny,” he said. “Just because some people bash me on Twitter, it’s not going to change my humor or my show.”
He added that he’s not worried that left-leaning Stephen Colbert, who finds opportunities to make Trump jokes seemingly every night, has surpassed him in viewership. “People in the height requirement between 5-7 and 5-11, we’re No. 1, from 11:50 to 11:55,” he joked. “I never, ever care. I’ll know when someone fires me.”
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