Jay Leno is a big fan of Larry Wilmore’s new late-night show and the role Comedy Central is playing in bringing “unfiltered news” to TV.
“Terrific,” is how Leno described Wilmore’s The Nightly Show today during an onstage interview with Tom Papa at this year’s National Association of Television Program Executives confab in Miami. “Wilmore brings a different perspective,” Leno said, calling it something sorely missing from late-night TV. “We need to see more women, more African Americans,” added the longtime host of NBC’s Tonight Show.
That aside, Leno called it a good time for female comics. Back in his early days, when Phyllis Diller was active, she was a “great joke writer and an attractive woman” who had to make herself look ugly to perform because female comics needed to have a “gag.”
Asked what he thought of the Bill Cosby controversy, Leno took the same position as had Wilmore had at the top of his show’s second episode, telecast hours earlier: “I don’t know why it ‘s so hard to believe women. You go to Saudi Arabia and you need two women to testify against a man. Here you need 25.”
“This whole Cosby thing,” Leno noted, started in October, when comedian Hannibal Buress performed a two-minute joke onstage in Philly about The Cosby Show star. “Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches,” Buress snapped, in response to comments Cosby was making at the time critical of black youth. “When you leave here, Google ‘Bill Cosby rape.’ That sh** has more results than ‘Hannibal Buress’,” Buress told members of his audience. A video of that performance went viral, after which women who’d previously accused Cosby of assault came forward again, and were joined by women who had not previously come forward – now totaling more than 30 women.
Leno today also lavished praise on Jon Stewart, calling him a news man who insists on calling himself a comedian, though he’s delivering “unfiltered news.”
Check out the full video above (Q&A starts at 15:56 mark).