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After More Than 4 Decades Of Comedy, It's Still Fun To Tell Jokes Jay Leno Says

Jay Leno has been a standup comedian for more than four decades. He also became world famous as the successor to Johnny Carson as longtime host of "The Tonight Show." He’s still going strong on television as host and producer of "Jay Leno’s Garage."

We spoke with Leno about his stand-up career and why he’s still going out on the road. Leno will perform Friday, August 5 at Talking Stick Resort.

Interview highlights

Leno's love of cars

"I grew up in an era when all young men were expected to fix lawnmowers and change flat tires and do all that stuff. So it was sort of part of the growing up process."

Why he's still doing stand up

"It's fun to tell jokes. I mean, I think any person, if you tell them a joke, they can't wait to tell that joke to each person that passes by their desk. And by the end of the day, you've told it enough times that you've really got it down. You've got the pacing. You've got the emphasis and now you're just waiting for people to walk past your desk so you can tell them that joke and that's kind of what this job is like."

Advice from Johnny Carson

"Johnny gave me advice. He said, 'you know, go up one night and just read your new jokes as blandly and as boringly as you possibly can. And if a joke gets a laugh, then you know it's funny.' So when you add a performance element to it, it will win on two levels. It will win on a performing level and it will win on the strength of its own joke, being funny level."

Steve Goldstein was a host at KJZZ from 1997 to 2022.