There was once a time when our escapism wasn’t polluted by injections of leftist politics and people had a good time through the use of a long forgotten expression we called “comedy.” Nowadays, what we have is what Ben Shapiro coined as “clapter,” or unfunny political jokes told in a humorous tone that elicit more applause than they do laughs.
No shows exhibit this more than modern-day late shows.
If you’ve tuned out, then you’re not the only one. Former “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno seems to be tired of it as well, and recently stated that he doesn’t miss it due to all the political opinions you’re expected to have.
While sitting in as a guest with NBC’s Al Roker during the third hour of the “Today” show, Roker asked Leno if he misses being the “Tonight Show” host, which Leno answered that he didn’t, and missed the old days of bipartisan ribbing and apolitical fun:
“No, it’s different. I don’t miss it. You know, everything now is, if people don’t like your politics, they — everyone has to know your politics,” Leno said. “I kind of used Johnny’s model. People couldn’t figure out. ‘Well, you and your Republican friends’ or ‘Well, Mr. Leno, you and your Democratic buddies.’ And I would get hate mail from both sides equally,” Leno said, referring to his predecessor at “The Tonight Show,” Johnny Carson. “But when people see you as one-sided, it just makes it tough,” Leno, 68, continued. “And plus, I did it when, you know, Clinton was horny and [George W.] Bush was dumb, and it was just a little easier.” “Now it’s all very serious,” he said. “I’d just like to see a bit of civility come back to it, you know? People say, ‘Oh, it must be easy to do jokes with Trump.’ No, it’s actually harder because the punch line of the joke used to be ‘That’s like the president with a porn star.’ Well, now the president is with a porn star. Where do you go with that? How do you get more outrageous than that?”
Leno was asked if the pendulum would swing the other way, to which he said it absolutely would.
“The theory when we watched the show was people just watched the news, we’ll make fun of the news and get your mind off the news,” said Leno. “Now people just want to be on the news all the time, you just have one subject, one topic every night. It makes it very tough. All the comics – Jimmy, Colbert, everybody else – it’s tough when that’s the only topic out there.”
Sadly, in today’s late-night comedy show world it appears that the more political you are, the more of an audience you’ll receive. According to Fox News, Steven Colbert is the most highly watched late night show, followed by an also political Jimmy Kimmel. Leno’s successor, Jimmy Fallon, comes in third thanks to his apolitical show.