Radio and TV Talk

Rodney Ho covers TV and radio, from Atlanta’s stations to the hottest “American Idol" news.

Interview: Jay Leno (Cobb Energy, February 18) on 'Lip Sync Battle,' Twitter, autonomous cars

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 14, 2017 by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Today, I spent 35 minutes talking with Jay Leno in advance of his show at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre Saturday night. (Tickets are available here.)

I wrote a piece using a bulk of the interview for You can read that here.

Here are bits that didn't make the main story:

On losing to Craig Ferguson on Spike's "Lip Sync Battle" last month: "We had three votes. It was close. He won on the third round. They edited that out. I like Craig. He's a good friend of mine. He's an ex rocker. He was in a punk rock band. He had that edge."

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Why he chose Sweet's "Ballroom Blitz" to lip sync: "It's a funny song and you can understand the lyrics. Plus, it lends itself to a lot of theatrics. You can go kind of crazy."

Why he chose the Supreme's "The World Is Empty Without You" as his second tune, while pushing away his two side singers in mock anger: "It always made me laugh when the other two girls in the Supemes would try to in inch their way in and Diana would always manage to stand in front of them. Even when I was kid, I found this funny."

Why he doesn't use Twitter to post jokes: "You know, 'Something you say, you forget it. You write it down, you'll regret it.' Everybody twists everything you say. I watched Steve Martin get vilified for what he said about Carrie Fisher. He said when he first saw her, he thought she was a most beautiful creature but later found her to be witty and smart as well. What's the insult? He said 'beautiful' first! I'm sorry. Men are visual. I just watched people go crazy. It's similar to calling my cat a pet instead of an 'animal companion!' "

On self-driving cars: "I think they're wonderful. I'm one of those people who believes engineers will save the world... I go down the street and most cars are autonomous already. People are eating sandwiches, talking on their phones. Cars driving themselves are better. I'm all for it. You can always go back. You can give us the choice. It's like anti-lock brakes and stability control. Every plane is autonomous. The pilot is just sitting there. People say this is such a horrible thing. People are just stupid!"

Watching current crop of talk show hosts: "I don't see a whole lot. I'll watch the monologues online. I like to catch Seth's monologue. Or Jimmy's or Colbert's. I like jokes... Samantha Bee is different. She brings a real point of view. You know exactly where she stands. That counteracts everything I was saying. I'm just a different type of comic. I'm not an angry comic. My job is to get laughs. I booked myself one time at Oral Roberts University just to see if I could play to that crowd. They liked the political and social jokes. I just dropped the sex jokes. A lot of comics tend to play to their audience, find it and stay there. I like to go different places. I used to work strip clubs. I opened for Perry Como. Those couldn't be more completely different audiences."

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 14: TV personality/host James Corden (L) and comedian Jay Leno attend the Jaguar I-PACE Concept, the brand's first-ever electric car, reveal at MILK Studios in Los Angeles on November 14, 2016. (Photo by Handout/Jaguar Land Rover via Getty Images)

How about James Corden?: "He's a great guy. He's got an obstacle coming to America. He adapted extremely well. I enjoy him a lot. I like all the guys. I liked most of the guys when I was doing it. I was not someone who saw them as a threat. Steve Martin, Johnny [Carson] helped me. I brought Johnny to see Ellen DeGeneres. It's been a pretty good family.":

A joke that didn't go over well at a recent show in Boston, his hometown: "A liar, a cheat and a murderer came into town. 'Hey! It's the Patriots in town!' That almost got me killed!"

Ever tempted to dye his hair, which went from full dark in the 1980s to full white by 2017: No! That doesn't interest me. That's like the stupidest show business thing. I see ads where guys dye their hair. 'Paul thinks I lost weight! Everyone thinks I look younger!' No they don't. They only tell you that. Nobody thinks that! Nobody takes it seriously when someone with gray hair suddenly has black hair overnight!"











And in November, 2016...

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 29: Event host Jay Leno at Champions for Children's at Seaport World Trade Center on November 29, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images for Boston's Children Hospital)

About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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