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Jay Leno Discusses Cancel Culture: ‘You Either Change With the Times or You Die’

Photo from Jay Leno’s Garage Instagram

Jay Leno Discusses Cancel Culture: ‘You Either Change With the Times or You Die’

By Movieguide® Staff

The former TONIGHT SHOW host and television icon Jay Leno recently revealed how he avoids cancel culture.

Leno, 71, said that his ability to adapt to diverse crowds keeps the fear of getting canceled far from his mind.

“When I do a gig in Utah and they’ll go, ‘Look, we don’t want any drug jokes, we don’t want any sex jokes, I go, ‘OK, I’ll take those out’ and I do something else,” Leno told the Los Angeles Times.

“With the #MeToo movement, all of a sudden the sexist jokes everybody used to do, you can’t do anymore. So you either change with the times or you die. You adapt to the circumstances,” he added.

Leno said he is ready to apologize for the jokes that have offended audiences in the past because it’s his job to make people laugh.

“If I see somebody who’s really hurt by something I did, that’s not my job,” he said. “The idea is to get them to laugh.”

After 22 years as THE TONIGHT SHOW host, Leno recently landed a gig with Fox First Run’s YOU BET YOUR LIFE.

Guy Aoki, a founding member of the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition, recently revealed that he called Leno out on past jokes offensive to Asians, the LA Times reported.

“After the Zoom meeting, Jay called me back and said, ‘I want to do whatever I can to get back the respect you once had for me,'” Aoki said. “And that meant a lot to me. And then he ended up calling me back 20 times. We had a lot of time to talk about stuff.”

Leno also noted that he would avoid political jokes on the new game show.

“We’ll pair a rapper from Chicago with an Ohio farmer lady, and they work as a team and it’s quite funny to watch,” Leno said. “There’s no politics, there’s no Trump jokes, there’s no Biden jokes. There are jokes about Congress in that generic sort of ‘they’re idiots’ type of thing.”

Other comedians have noted the stricter rules for comedy since the rise of “cancel culture.”

Movieguide® previously reported:

Actor and comedian Rowan Atkinson, known for his roles as MR. BEAN and JOHNNY ENGLISH, compared cancel culture and the rise of “social media warriors” to a “medieval mob roaming the streets looking for someone to burn.”

In a recent interview, the British star accused social media users and platforms of needless polarization and fears that the mob’s readiness to “cancel” someone could result in a direct attack on freedom of speech.

“The problem we have online is that an algorithm decides what we want to see, which ends up creating a simplistic, binary view of society. It becomes a case of either you’re with us or against us. And if you’re against us, you deserve to be ‘canceled’,” Atkinson told Radio Times.

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Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.


4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.