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Jay Leno says he's enjoying retirement



JERUSALEM (AP) - After two decades of hosting "The Tonight Show," Jay Leno says his transition into retirement has been seamless.

Without the daily grind of hosting NBC's popular late-night show, Leno said he feels "liberated" to travel and invest more in his standup routines.

"Write joke. Tell joke. Get check. It's pretty simple. It's not a hard plan," he joked in an interview with The Associated Press.

This week he made his first trip to Israel, where he will host an award ceremony Thursday honoring former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg for his philanthropic efforts.

Leno is to perform in front of Bloomberg, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other dignitaries at the first Genesis Prize ceremony in Jerusalem. Leno said both men would be fair game for playful jokes.

The 64-year-old Leno retired in February and was replaced by former "Saturday Night Live" star Jimmy Fallon.

"He's a great friend of mine and I think he is doing a terrific job," Leno said Wednesday. "At some point you realize it is time to step down ... I'm having a good time now."

Leno said the best part was not having the burden of preparing for the show every day.

"You don't have to watch 'Noah' and all these other films, these kinds of kid movies. You get to a certain age where 'OK, I'm over the superhero thing,'" he said. "I don't have to do that anymore so that's fantastic!"

He said he'd gladly be a guest on Fallon's show at some point but was not itching to get back into TV yet.

"I have no problem doing that, but I think that once you leave you've got to let the ground lay fallow for a while," he said.

Along with his wife, Mavis, Leno has been one of the leaders of a growing boycott of the Beverly Hills Hotel, protesting the harsh new Islamic laws imposed by the sultan of the Southeast Asia nation of Brunei - who owns the hotel.

Leno said had no plans to be overly politically active and said he was just "doing what is right." Regardless, he said there was no way any of his convictions would find their way into his acts.

"That's the first rule of comedy: You don't put your cause ahead of the joke. People come to see you to be entertained, to have a laugh," he said.

But Leno, who also recently performed in China, London and Rome, had no problem professing his admiration for Israel at a time when pro-Palestinian activists have been urging entertainers to boycott the Jewish state.

"I'm a huge supporter of Israel and always have been," he said. "It is a democracy in the Middle East and I don't like to see the little guy getting picked on by the big guy."

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toolmanoo7 May 23 2014 at 6:04 PM

Leno blew Fallon out of the water
The show will never be the same

Flag Reply +98 rate up
22 replies
Starfish May 23 2014 at 5:45 PM

We miss Jay every night as well. No one has or can take his place! His timely and terrific humor, his gracious and artful interviews of dignitaries, celebrities, etc, etc., and those terrific monologues without a sidekick are just a few of his endearing talents! While he deserves to enjoy his retirement,we can only hope and wish he returns to TV!

Flag Reply +98 rate up
7 replies
jpenders29 May 23 2014 at 5:20 PM

It is wonderful that Jay is enjoying his retirement, and I hope he really is. He seemed always to have a lot of energy and hopefully his live shows, travel, his cars and Mavis are keeping him busy enough.
Personally, I miss him every week night about 11:35 PM. There are many who do and wish there was a way to see and hear him once and awhile, much like Jerry Seinfeld.
We will keep on wishing ! Who knows what may happen ?
A forever fan

Flag Reply +88 rate up
5 replies
lheath6991 May 23 2014 at 6:03 PM

Missing Leno very much. Faillon don't deserve air time

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2 replies
James lheath6991 May 23 2014 at 6:06 PM

Who are "Faillon"?

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7 replies
tomnewhope lheath6991 May 24 2014 at 12:01 AM

fallon will never be Leno, enjoy the retirement Jay, wish you were back......

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3 replies
crazy ray May 23 2014 at 5:46 PM

Yeah, he's got a point there. Israelies don't dress their women up in slave costumes, teach their children to kill other religions, and starve the people while the big boys live in palaces. Who in their right mind would rather live in Libya, Syria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, or Afghanistan? The muslims want to kill everybody, including each other. Sure, sure, tell us about the nice muslims down the street who live holy lives. But gee, they were smart enough to leave their countries. Even they know these people just can't get along.

Flag Reply +61 rate up
13 replies
JERI6765 May 23 2014 at 6:28 PM

I miss Jay so much The tonight Show will never be the same without him. Jay, enjoy your retirement and you have so much talent. Don't ever forget your God given talent and your sadly missed in our homes at night.

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4 replies
benplhrs743 May 23 2014 at 5:02 PM

He could be a great asset to the USO. Especially with his contacts and generalized likability.

Flag Reply +48 rate up
1 reply
juanita wright benplhrs743 May 23 2014 at 9:56 PM

OH how I miss JAY Leno, retied and were looking forward to watching every nite.

Flag Reply +9 rate up
Pinot Man May 23 2014 at 6:18 PM

go jay you are the best and none of these late night jokers can touch you. enjoy your cars and enjoy life we admire and respect you.....
jerry

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2 replies
spdy65 Pinot Man May 24 2014 at 1:30 AM

We? I'll speak for me, thanks.

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natalie Pinot Man May 24 2014 at 5:47 PM

YOU ARE EITHER OBCESSED OR FIXATED, HEY ALL HAD SOME GOOD IN THEM, AND WILL CONTINUE TO~~~

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Aviation Finance May 23 2014 at 6:17 PM

Jay became like a close family friend who was eagerly welcomed into my home several times a week. His retirement has been like losing a good friend, but God bless him for the many years of entertainment and all of the Very Hard work that it took to put on that excellent show.

I cannot imagine a person who could ever be his equal hosting toe Tonight Show.

But then again, I said the same about Johnny and Jay Leno proved to be even better....

Thank You Jay, wherever you are. We wish you a wonderful well earned "retirement"......

Flag Reply +37 rate up
8 replies
susankirth May 23 2014 at 6:11 PM

I like Jimmy Fallon, but he is Not Jay Leno! Miss him!

Flag Reply +31 rate up
2 replies
dawndee994 susankirth May 23 2014 at 8:55 PM

like Jimmy in very small doses because his antics are a bit immature and self centered. Enjoyed Jay's interaction on the streets with other people -Jaywalking and the blunder adds and things that made the show less self centered and more about all folks. Jay unlike other hosts kept to both sides of the political spectrum never showing the outrageous partiality of some hosts.

Flag Reply +23 rate up
3 replies
natalie susankirth May 24 2014 at 5:49 PM

AND THANK GOD FALLON IS NOT JAY LENO, I WAS SO ELATED TO SEE LENO RETIRE~~ HE WAS VERY STALE....

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
It's A NEW DAY natalie May 25 2014 at 10:42 AM

Not Stale..... Timely and Classic. Humor has changed and TV viewers have gotten more stupid in regard to entertainment...... Fallons "Games" are getting old now after watching them at 12:30.. Same crap different day..!

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