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Jimmy Kimmel: Jay Leno 'hasn't been good at stand-up in 20 years'

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Jimmy Kimmel
Randy Holmes/ABC

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.

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