Jimmy Kimmel has been anything but shy about his animosity toward Jay Leno over the years, but exactly how deeply he dislikes the Tonight Show host is made evident in a recent article by Rolling Stone.
In the magazine’s cover story, Kimmel — whose late-night show Jimmy Kimmel Live will find itself in direct timeslot competition with Leno and David Letterman starting Jan. 8 — is quoted as saying a host of harsh comments about Leno, with whom he has publicly panned in the past.
“Leno hasn’t been a good stand-up in 20 years,” Kimmel is quoted, a response to the article writer’s question about the quality of Leno’s weekly sets at the Comedy & Magic Club in Los Angeles. And later, he says, “As a comedian, you can’t not have disdain for what he’s done. He totally sold out.”
But Kimmel does not see his disdain as unwarranted, noting a 2008 incident in which Leno played nice only — as he sees it — in hopes of getting Kimmel to surrender his existing late-night position to make room for a potential new program with Jay on ABC. (The deal never went through.) Additionally, Kimmel is a well-known supporter of David Letterman, whom was famously passed up for the Tonight Show gig — he even roasted Letterman warmly at the Kennedy Center Honors earlier this month.
The article notes that Leno declined to comment for the Rolling Stone story.