The most important skill for a future late night talk show host, according to Jay Leno? Kindness. The retired Tonight Show host said that’s why he thinks incoming Late Show host Stephen Colbert will do well when he takes over David Letterman‘s desk on Sept. 8.
“I think Colbert will be good,” he told TV Insider of the new class of late-night hosts. “He’s a truly nice guy and decent human being.”
And while Leno, 65, said he is a fan of his replacement, Jimmy Fallon, and Fallon’s Late Night replacement, Seth Meyers, he isn’t into the type of humor Jimmy Kimmel has.
“The most [important] element you can have in doing a late night show is kindness,” he explained to TV Insider, “because the show makes you arrogant. I think that’s Jimmy Kimmel’s problem.”
He continued, “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.”
Fallon’s Tonight Show consistently tops the late-night ratings, while Letterman frequently came in second before his Late Show retirement and Kimmel typically finishes in third.
While Leno doesn’t miss having to write material for a 14-minute monologue every night, the comedian, who has been traveling the country doing stand-up in his retirement, has a few Donald Trump jokes he’d like to get off his chest.
“I’d like to do them on Jimmy. When I go on The Tonight Show I like to do stand-up,” he revealed. “I did the last time. Because I’m a stand-up, I don’t just sit on the couch. I always hated when guests would come on and didn’t prepare; they just wanted to talk. You’ve got to have something, so I never want to do that to a host.”
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