Jay Leno Says You Either Accept Cancel Culture ‘or You Die’

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 04: Jay Leno performs at The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize tribute concert at DAR Constitution Hall on March 04, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Shannon Finney/Getty Images)
Shannon Finney/Getty Images

Veteran late-night TV host and comedian Jay Leno says he will be dropping jokes that may run afoul of the #MeToo movement, stating, “you either change with the times or you die.”

Leno is suggesting comedians will have to curtail their content if they want to survive in the entertainment industry in the era of wokeness and cancel culture.

“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 said during a recent Zoom call from his Los Angeles home, according to a report by Los Angeles Times.

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

In March, Leno himself felt the need to apologize for a series of jokes about Asians that he has told over the decades during his television career.

“At the time I did those jokes, I genuinely thought them to be harmless,” the comedian explained. “I was making fun of our enemy North Korea, and like most jokes, there was a ring of truth to them.”

Leno is not the only comedian to admit that his business has gotten more challenging in the wake of cancel culture.

Last month, actor and comedian David Spade warned that wokeness is killing comedy.

“It’s very dicey. It’s very tricky,” the star said of being a comedian in the age of cancel culture. “Now you say the one wrong move and you’re canceled. It’s a very tough world out there.”

In May, comedian Dave Chappelle proclaimed, “cancel culture shit bothers me,” and called out the “fake woketivists” who try to censor their opposition.

In June, actor and comedian Jon Lovitz compared today’s era of cancel culture to McCarthyism. “I’ll just say it — it’s no different than McCarthyism,” he said.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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