Jay Leno appears quite comfortable being the "timeless, deathless supervillain of the late-night-talk-show universe"
On Marc Maron's WTF podcast this week, the former Tonight Show recalled his late-night wars with David Letterman, Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Kimmel -- whom he reconciled with last year. The interview is notable in that Maron is a Conan ally, having been a regular on Conan's talk shows since 1994. As Rob Harvilla notes, "both of Leno’s major Tonight Show transgressions are hilarious to even contemplate now. The context is collapsing. The Conan debacle is less than a decade old but feels positively ancient: You boys were arguing about time slots? And comprehending his original sin—beating out Letterman as (Johnny) Carson’s successor in ’92—depends on your ability to still view the two candidates as different species." Harvilla adds: "The whole Maron interview is spectacular ... Maron’s goal is to get his guest to express regret, to apologize, to grovel at the feet of his many haters, from Howard Stern to Conan himself. But Leno doesn’t need, or at least doesn’t want, a redemption narrative. 'Who do you tackle? The guy with the ball,' he explains, affable as ever in reliving all that criticism and outright enmity. 'The quarterback. And to me, The Tonight Show was the ball.' In the end, (Leno) was merely a victim of his outrageous success. And so were we." ALSO: Leno is tired of complaints over political correctness: "This is why I don't bitch about political correctness, because to me, times change. Change with the times or die."
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