During his 17-year tenure as host of The Tonight Show, Jay Leno was known for carefully poking fun at politics on both sides of the aisle, obfuscating his own views in the process.
While his current live standup show isn't entirely news-free, Leno tells 710 WOR's Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning that he believes it's a show where people can forget their politics for a while.
"I just like to do comedy at this point," he told the show. "I think people get a little politicked out. I don't go out and give a lecture. We live in an era now where if people don't like your politics, they don't like your music or your book or your comedy or your movie or whatever it is."
But Leno doesn't begrudge comedians for whatever their brand may be. While he's personally happier keeping his distance, he says there's nothing wrong with comics like the Late Show's Stephen Colbert who embrace politics as a central part of their show.
"I think he's great," Leno said of Colbert. "I think he really writes good jokes and it's smart and insightful. I try to please the entire audience, regardless of what it is. It's just my nature. I'm not going to be necessarily confrontational with the crowd."
Leno also defended Dave Chappelle from blowback against his latest Netflix special for a number of jokes about LGBTQ issues.
"Well, if you don't like it, don't watch it," Leno said, noting the myriad of choices people have when it comes to entertainment. "It's free speech. You don't have to listen to it if you don't want to. My thing is, everybody is invited and I hope there's something there for everybody."
Leno is performing at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury on Saturday, October 26. Go here for tickets.
Check out the full interview in the player above!