Beverly Hills, Calif. — Former Tonight Show host Jay Leno had nothing but positive things to say about Stephen Colbert as he prepares to take over The Late Show on CBS Sept. 8, during a TCA summer press tour panel for his CNBC show Jay Leno’s Garage Thursday.
“I think he’ll be terrific,” he said. “The idea of a white guy on late night is revolutionary,” he joked.
Leno believes the perception of Colbert as a “raging lunatic” who may not connect with a general audience is overblown.
“I think he will do well with mainstream America,” Leno said, referencing Colbert’s work as a Sunday school teacher.
When asked if he will make any appearances on The Late Show, Leno said he is “kind of loyal to Jimmy [Fallon] and Seth [Meyers]” and that any appearance on a rival network could spark unnecessary speculation about problems with NBC.
Leno did say he hopes for a late night landscape with more diversity.
“Comedy is really funny with a different point of view or look at things differently,” he said. “I would like to see [another] female or African American host.”
After the panel, Leno addressed the Bill Cosby scandal, saying the women who have come forward alleging Cosby drugged and raped them have not been taken seriously while the men who accused priests of molestation have been.
“How can we believe them and not the women? It does seem awful sexist to me…It does seem very unfair and I’m surprised no one has ever made that analogy,” he said.