Jay Leno avoids political jokes, says ‘It’s nice to hear a comedian just be funny’

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By Carina

Renowned comedian and former “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno has recently shared his decision to exclude political content from his comedy routines. 

Leno, known for his years of comedic experience, explained his reasoning in a recent interview with ITK, noting the impact political jokes have on the atmosphere of his performances.

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Leno notes shift in audience response to political humor in stand-up shows

Leno observed a noticeable change in audience reactions when political topics were introduced in his stand-up shows. 

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“An audience is like an orchestra. You’re up there, and you’re getting the laughs,” Leno remarked. However, he noted a change in the audience’s response when delving into political humor. 

Jay Leno critiques political jokes for polarizing audiences

“It just goes ahhh,” Leno described, imitating a groaning sound. 

The comedian pointed out that political jokes tend to polarize audiences, making them more focused on whether the humor aligns with or opposes their views rather than on the joke itself.

Leno expresses frustration with politically charged humor

“They’re not thinking of the joke. They’re thinking of the implications of the joke,” said the 73-year-old entertainer. 

Leno, who continued performing nationwide after leaving NBC’s late-night talk show in 2014, expressed frustration with this trend. “So, to me, I just don’t do it anymore. I just find it so annoying,” he stated.

Leno seeks a break from politics in comedy

Leno believes that audiences generally prefer a respite from politics at comedy shows. “I find [the] audience likes it better. Hopefully, they come to a comedy show to get away from politics,” he mentioned. 

In a time when political opinions are omnipresent, Leno emphasized the value of pure entertainment. “I think we get enough of everybody’s opinions. It’s nice to hear a singer just sing or a comedian just be funny,” he reflected.

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Leno recognizes diversity in comedy approaches

However, Leno acknowledged that his approach is not one-size-fits-all and does not apply to every comedian. 

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He pointed out the difference in expectations when attending shows of comedians known for their political satire. 

“Obviously, if you’re going to go see Stephen Colbert, a political comedian, that’s what you want,” he said, referring to the CBS “Late Show” host known for his politically charged content.

Jay Leno advocates for politics-free comedy

“But a lot of times, you just want to hear comedy,” Leno concluded, emphasizing his preference for keeping his comedy routines free from political material. 

This decision by Jay Leno reflects a broader conversation in the world of comedy about the role of political humor and the impact it has on both the comedian and the audience.

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