Jay Leno Doesn’t Want to Interview Donald Trump

Denim-clad comic is having trouble finding humor in the 2016 election.

Jay Leno Donald Trump
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If you've been hoping to see how Donald Trump would handle driving a turbine-powered Chrysler alongside Jay Leno, well, don't expect to have your hopes fulfilled anytime soon. The former Tonight Showhost and ravenous car collector says he has no interest in interviewing the presumptive Republican presidential nominee on his CNBC series Jay Leno's Garage—or anywhere else.

"I don't want to interview Trump," Leno said, during his own interview with Fox News. Though the famously denim-clad host still has plenty of exposure—beyond Jay Leno's Garage, he performs almost 200 stand-up shows a year—he does not seem to miss his role as an arm of the NBC news media, for which Donald Trump has provided plenty of fodder. The tenor of the political atmosphere, according to the congenial host, has turned acrid.

“There are still plenty of jokes there, but there is an ugliness to this campaign that I don’t find attractive at all," Leno said, "and I really don’t want to joke about somebody saying, ‘All Muslims should be kicked out of the country or ‘Because a guy is Mexican, he can’t be a judge.’ It is tricky to find the joke there.”

It was easier for comedian to crack political jokes back in his glory days, Leno noted. “I came up in the era when Clinton was horny and Bush was dumb. It was a simpler, funny time," he said. "Now it is all race baiting and homophobia and Islamophobia.”

The full line-up of season two of Jay Leno's Garage has yet to be released, but a few notable names have already surfaced. Jerry Seinfeld, whose program Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee serves as an online counterpoint to Leno's, will make an appearance, as will Vice President Joe Biden. Kendall Jenner, of the Kardashian-Jenner media industrial complex, will take a ride in one of Jay's vintage cars, as will her parent, long-time racing fan Caitlyn Jenner.

Jay also holds out hope that his old late night rival, David Letterman, a huge gearhead himself, might stop by.

“Dave is as quirky as they come. God bless him. He is having fun," Leno said. "When I see him, he still has that twinkle, and he still seems to be having fun with it. He doesn’t look like a depressed old guy.” Maybe Letterman will bring his V-8 Volvo 960, bought in tandem with Paul Newman, if he stops by.

While David Letterman's persona—prickly, acerbic, intolerant of vapidity—has been evoked as part of the "Liberal Media Elite," Leno's more conservative views and relative lack of political speech has, until now, allowed him to escape the label. But then again, disavowing Trump's poisonous rhetoric may well be worth whatever it costs Leno in national popularity. We like this less-affable Leno.