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Who's Talking to Chris Wallace

Surgeon General Releases Report on Social Media Harms; Comedian and Former Talk Show Host Jay Leno joins Chris Wallace; Director Quentin Tarantino joins Chris Wallace. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired June 02, 2023 - 22:00   ET




DR. PHIL MCGRAW, T.V. SHOW HOST AND AUTHOR: You bullied that boy.

CHRIS WALLACE, CNN HOST: One of the most recognizable faces on daytime television --

MCGRAW: Nobody tells me who to put on my show, including you.

WALLACE: -- is calling it quits.

But, tonight, before Dr. Phil leaves the studio, he's sitting down with us.

Dr. Phil, welcome.

To talk about his 20 years as the on-call doc for on-camera drama.

MCGRAW: Who do you get along with?

WALLACE: And Just as the surgeon general releases a report on the harms of social media --

DR. VIVEK MURTHY, GENERAL SURGEON: It is urgent that we take action.

WALLACE: -- Dr. Phil digs into America's growing mental health crisis, especially among teenagers.

MCGRAW: Young people started watching people live their lives instead of living their own lives.

WALLACE: And later --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

WALLACE: -- Comedian Jay Leno's road to recovery after surviving a garage fire and a motorcycle crash.

JAY LENO, COMEDIAN: I never thought of myself as a roast comic.

WALLACE: He gives us the latest on his health. LENO: I got a new face and a new ear.

WALLACE: Can I see it?

LENO: Sure.

WALLACE: And his return to the comedy stage.

LENO: At this age, they're stunned that you're still alive.

Good evening and welcome back to who's talking. Tonight, we begin with a serious concern every parent faces, the impact of social media on their children's lives. A new advisory from the surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, says spending time on social media presents, quote, a profound risk of harm for kids. Advisories from the surgeon general are designed to highlight urgent public health issues. And Dr. Murthy told CNN that is exactly what the country is dealing with, a youth mental health crisis.


MURTHY: When kids are spending more than three hours on average, that they face nearly double the risk, increased risk of depression and anxiety symptoms. That's really profound. And there are more concerning facets here, but what we have to understand from all of this is that it is urgent that we take action to protect our kids and to make sure that their experience on social media is safe.


WALLACE: So, tonight, we turn to one of the country's most notable T.V. psychologists, Dr. Phil.


WALLACE: You are ending your show this spring after 21 years on the air. And over all that time, you have either been the number one or the number two most-watched show in daytime syndicated talk shows. So, why stop now?

MCGRAW: Well, you know, 21 years is a long time. And I've done the things that I've set out to do. And the first question I was ever asked was for a sales reel. What's this show going to be about? And I said, two things. I said, I'm going to talk about things that matter to people who care. That was what I wanted to do. And I said I want to deliver commonsense, usable information to people's homes every day for free. And talk about the silent epidemics, talk about the things that had such a stigma about them that you just didn't talk about them. And I really wanted to push mental illness to the forefront of the narrative in America.

WALLACE: Well, I want to pick up on that. Because you read studies that say anxiety, stress, depression, are bigger problems than ever that teenage girls more than ever feel thoughts of suicide, of wanting to hurt themselves, what's going on? MCGRAW: Well, everybody thinks that the pandemic is perhaps behind this, but that trend really started back in '09, '10. And the pandemic just threw gas on the fire. About '08, '09, it's like a big freighter flew over the United States and dropped smart phones on everybody and young people started watching people live their lives instead of living their own lives. And those lives they were watching were fantasies.


And we compare our reality to other people's fantasy, and by comparison, we come away feeling worse about ourselves.

WALLACE: Well, let's talk about what you do. And we have an example from before you started your own show, a couple of months before on Oprah, and you were a guest and you were talking to some folks. Take a look.

OPRAH WINFREY, HOST: Isn't this just a major power struggle going on here?

MCGRAW: Well, of course, it is. And the problem that you get into, you couldn't be more right. It is a tug-of-war. It's actually a power struggle. And here's the thing I want you to understand, is when you get into a power struggle, what you've done is made your relationship a competition.


MCGRAW: And think about what that means. Did you play sports ever?


MCGRAW: What do you call the other side?


MCGRAW: That's right. So if you make it a competition, you have made your partner the opponent, the enemy.

WALLACE: You say you don't -- that you're not acting as a therapist, that on your show, you act as a moderator. What's the difference?

MCGRAW: Well, if you're using every guest as a teaching tool, you're hoping to give some general information that people can use in their lives at home, people you don't know. And so you try to talk in generalities that people can say, all right, what he's saying to these people, the suggestions he's making are general enough that I can apply those to how I approach my children, my relationship with my in- laws, my relationship with my spouse.

And in that example, that's a good example of saying, if I put these interactions in a win-lose situation, I'm really setting these people I care about up as opponents. And that's a lose-lose situation. I don't want to do that. So, that's applicable to your kids, your work relationships, your in-laws. And that's where I say I'm trying to provide commonsense information that people can use to enrich their lives every day.

If I was doing it therapeutically, I would have to do a set of psychometric tests. I would have to get information about everybody involved and take into account a lot of nuances that you don't have time to do in that kind of a situation. So, you have to stay much more general.

WALLACE: You have had countless success stories over the years. One example, in 2017, a woman, a girl named Bethany came on the show. She had committed a lot of crimes to feed her addiction. Here she is on that show and then a year later. Take a look.

MCGRAW: I work with law enforcement a lot. And you have confessed to a number of crimes here. You could either not do drugs in a treatment center, or you could not do drugs in jail. You want to take this help?

Bethany is nine months sober as she sits here today. So, how do you feel?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel really good.

MCGRAW: Yes? You feel good physically as well?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Physically, mentally.

WALLACE: Is that basically what you do? Cut through the bull and make the choice as stark as possible?

MCGRAW: You know, depending on who you're talking to, I think you meet people where they are. And if people are in the grips of a powerful addiction, you really have to get down to the nitty-gritty. You have to give them clear choices.

WALLACE: Let's talk about how Phil McGraw became who he is. You say the defining fact of your childhood was that your dad, Joe, was an alcoholic and you describe your home life as a kid as chaos. How bad was it?

MCGRAW: It could have been worse, but it was distinctly chaotic, no question about it. My dad was an animated alcoholic. And he could get violent. He could get blackout drunk and have no idea. I mean, there are a lot of days I would have to get up in the morning and go find the car because he had no idea where he left the car. There were mornings that -- and I say mornings because he wouldn't come home at night, he'd come home in the middle of the night, like 3:00 in the morning, and kick all the windows out of the house.


He'd tear the vent hood off the oven in -- the range in the kitchen and throw it through a picture window. He would just tear things up.

WALLACE: What did that do to little Phil? I can't imagine a worse environment in which to grow up.

MCGRAW: Well, I've never had a drink. I think the last time I took a drink was a hot beer in a parking lot my junior year of high school.

WALLACE: That sounds pretty bad.

MCGRAW: Oh my God. That will break you from it, Chris. So, you know, I haven't had a drink, a real drink, in 50, 60 years. I decided this is just not for me.

WALLACE: Your dad eventually stopped drinking, and in fact, decided to become a psychologist and studied for it. And he did, and then you ended up joining him in practice. And the question I have is did the two of you ever resolve things? Did you work out what he had put you through as a kid?

MCGRAW: Yes. I always tell people, don't let the sun set on you without saying and doing what you need to say and do with those people that you love because you never know how much longer they're going to be there. And I know he went to the cardiologist one day and came home. And I said, well, how did it go? And he said, don't buy me any green bananas, I'll put it that way. He was kind of funny that way. And he said, I don't think I've got much longer in this life.

And we had the opportunity to say the things that we needed to say, to clear the air, or so I thought. And then when it actually happens, the gravity of it overwhelms you. You say, I wish I had one more day even though we consciously made a decision to get said the things that we needed to say. But even so, I'll say in all the time that we had, and I guess he died when I was 42, not one time in my life did he ever say, I'm proud of you. And --

WALLACE: Never, even to the end?

MCGRAW: Even to the end. He would brag about me to other people but never to me. And so I learned, sometimes you've got to look yourself in the mirror and give yourself what you wish you'd get from other people.


WALLACE: When we come back, we explore one of Dr. Phil's most controversial guests. And we get his take on convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh.


WALLACE: What was your read on him and do you have any doubt that he was guilty?


WALLACE: Later, former tonight show host jay leno does what he does when I asked him about being badly burned in a garage fire.


WALLACE: What about your face?

LENO: I have a friend who's a (INAUDIBLE), and he gave me a bag of him. And, boy, you can't even tell.

WALLACE: It's funny it doesn't look like foreskin.




WALLACE: Dr. Phil's show has been a staple of daytime T.V. for more than 20 years. Throughout its run, he's helped countless people facing personal problems and family crises. But he's also had some controversial moments.


WALLACE: Not surprisingly over the course of 21 years in a high- profile position, you have been involved in a few controversies. In 2016, you interviewed Shelley Duvall, and who is obviously very mentally ill. And this is how it was promoted. Take a look.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I watched robin Williams, I don't think he's dead.

WALLACE: Where do you think he is?


WALLACE: Do you see him?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A star's descent into mental illness.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The man who threatened me is the sheriff of Nottingham.

I think there's a worrying disk inside me. I'm very sick. I need help.

MCGRAW: Well, that's why I'm here.

WALLACE: Some folks said that you exploited her mental condition. Do you regret what you did there?

MCGRAW: Oh, I don't regret what I did. I regret that it was promoted in a way that people thought was unbecoming. And there are parts of that story that I haven't talked about and won't talk about in specific. But I can say generally that we worked with her family. We worked with her for over a year off-camera after that fact and providing her opportunities for inpatient and outpatient psychiatric care. Just -- I can't tell you the extent we went to.

And the people that were critical of it, nobody ever asked them what they ever did to try and help her. And the answer is, not a damn thing. WALLACE: You've said, without Oprah, there would be no Dr. Phil. And after you left therapy, which you say you weren't that good at, you started a company called Courtroom Sciences Inc., which helped big defendants with jury selection and mock trials at the time Oprah was being sued by cattlemen because she had done a show about mad cow disease. She won and she gave you a lot of the credit for it.

MCGRAW: She, one day, interviewing a gentleman that had studied this, said, whoa, I'm not ever eating another burger, and cattle futures on the Chicago Board of Trade went limit down, maybe for a few days.


And so they sued her in Amarillo.

And I was on the trial team. And we defended her kind of behind enemy lines in Amarillo, Texas, like 85 percent of the people, direct or indirect income from the beef industry. And they were suing her for multibillion dollars.

And she ultimately made a terrific witness. And we mock tried the case and studied the case and got it to the point where we could tell the truth effectively and were able to win about the case up there. And, ultimately, Oprah said, I've always promised my viewers that anything I found that really impacted my life that I considered a value, I would share it with him, whether it was a hair dryer or a book or a person or whatever. And I want to share with you Dr. Phil. And so she brought me on the show, and it kind of all started from there, and the rest of it was history.

WALLACE: You did several shows this year about the Alex Murdaugh trial, on trial and convicted for killing his wife and his son. What was your read on him? And do you have any doubt that he was guilty?

MCGRAW: I don't have any doubt that he was guilty. I think that he is a -- I do think he was a serious drug addict, and I think he suffered serious changes to his brain that led to some real poor judgment and zero impulse control on his part.

When you think about -- people have a hard time going to that part of the behavioral continuum. But when you think about what it would take to actually go shoot your child in the head twice, you know, shoot them twice, shoot them in the head, let alone your wife, let alone your child, for any reason whatsoever, let alone the thin motive that they've attributed to him, to distract from his financial crimes, you have to really be way out at the end of that evil continuum.

WALLACE: Would you, if you were still in the jury consulting and trial strategy business, what would you have said to him about taking the stand?

MCGRAW: Don't. Don't take the stand. Because in terms of deception detection, which I've spent a lot of my career studying and being involved with, you can't control all of the different tells when somebody is lying. And it's like playing whack-a-mole. You've got blink rate, pupil dilation, and body language and choices of words and things, and he was just screaming deception from the first night he was talking to law enforcement until he was on the witness stand. And anyone that's trained in it at all, and those with reasonable instincts, can tell he was lying. And I think he took it out of desperation. I think they thought once he was found to be on the videotape --

WALLACE: That he had been at the site?

MCGRAW: Yes, and had lied about it, I think they thought, we're dead in the water. So, we've got to swing for the fences and hope we can connect with one juror and hang this up.

WALLACE: I want to finish talking about your future. After 21 years, you're going to be -- the daytime show is going to be ending and a lot of people are going to miss it, but you've got a primetime partnership with CBS. Can you give us any idea, a preview of the kind of thing you're going to be doing now?

MCGRAW: Chris, I'm very concerned where this country is headed. I watch a lot of the things that are going on right now from a psychosocial standpoint. I see the divisiveness in this country. I see a lot of the things that are happening at the educational level, at the social level. I think a lot of the woke things that are being -- agendas that are being pushed, a lot of the things that are happening on the extreme right. And, you know, I just think commonsense, it's not common enough anymore.


And I'm going to talk about those things. I'm going to start talking about them in January of '24.

WALLACE: And any idea how you're going to do this, make this into a T.V. show? The subject sounds great but how do you --

MCGRAW: I'm going to tell it through the eyes of the people that are impacted by it. I want to continue talk to real people. And if I talk about homelessness, for example, I want to talk to homeless people, I want to talk to people who are impacted by homeless people. Their businesses are disrupted by it. I want to talk to the mentally ill that are homeless. And I want to talk to the people that are worried that we're calling them the homeless instead of those experiencing homelessness.

And I get criticized for bringing both sides on. But, too bad, I'm going to continue to give both sides a platform to talk about their points of view.


WALLACE: Up next, we go from one T.V. legend to another. Late night star Jay Leno in his first major T.V. interview since suffering serious injuries in two major accidents, which kept delaying our conversation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WALLACE: Did you finally decide talking to me was less painful than setting yourself on fire?






UNKNOWN: It's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST (voice-over): Jay Leno ruled late-night television for more than two decades.

JAY LENO, COMEDIAN: Thank you. What a crowd tonight.

WALLACE (voice-over): Known for his brash monologues --

LENO: Oh, yeah. I'm way off base. Shut up.

WALLACE (voice-over): -- parade of news-making guests --

LENO: What's this thing with Trump and you?

WALLACE (voice-over): -- and one unforgettable question.

LENO: What the hell were you thinking?

WALLACE (voice-over): After giving up the late shift, Leno has shifted gears from comedy to cars.

LENO: It's time to get somebody (inaudible) now.

WALLACE (voice-over): But his passion for hot wheels hasn't come without risk.

LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Jay Leno is in the hospital tonight being treated for serious burns to his face and his hands.

WALLACE (voice-over): Suffering a garage fire and a severe motorcycle accident in just the last few months. Now, we talk about his road to recovery and his return to the comedy stage.

LENO: Never thought of myself as the roast comment.


WALLACE: Jay Leno, welcome. It is great to see you again.

JAY LENO, COMEDIAN: Yes, you too, you too.

WALLACE: And I've been looking forward to this. LENO: Yeah, thank you, me too, me too. I kept -- things kept

happening. We kept putting this off, so I apologize.

WALLACE: Well, we didn't put it off. Here's what happened, we had a devil of a time getting you to this table.

LENO: Right.

WALLACE: Because in November, you were all set.

LENO: All right.

WALLACE: You got caught in a garage fire.

LENO: And I got set on fire, yeah.

WALLACE: That's right. Then in January -- of all the excuses, incidentally -- then in January, we're all set, and you have a motorcycle accident.

LENO: Right. I'm a 72-year-old guy driving an 83-year-old motorcycle, what could go wrong there when you think about it, really? It doesn't seem possible.

WALLACE: So here's the question.

LENO: Yes, sir.

WALLACE: Why are you here? I mean, did you finally decide that talking to me was less painful than setting yourself on fire?

LENO: I think that's a good answer. You know, when you have one accident, oh, people, you get all the condolences. You have two, now you're Harrison Ford crashing airplanes. You know, and Leno -- accident-prone Leno. I've had two accidents in -- all right, in a fairly short time. You know how it works.

WALLACE: So, seriously, I want a medical update. After the garage fire, which was serious --

LENO: Right.

WALLACE: -- you said that you got a new face and a new ear. What does that mean?

LENO: Well, that means I got a new face and a new ear. I mean, ear is when you -- when you catch fire, there's no bone. Ears, like paper, they go up. They make you a new one.

WALLACE: Can I see it?

LENO: Sure.

WALLACE: Can I see the other one? They look the same.

LENO: Yeah. I had a very good doctor. WALLACE: What's this made of?

LENO: It's artificial skin, I think, it is.

WALLACE: Really?

LENO: Yeah, yeah.

WALLACE: And then what about your face?

LENO: Well, I get, you know -- people think that the skin grafts are expensive. I have a friend who's a mole (ph) and he gave me a bag of them. And boy, you -- I mean, you can't even -- I mean you can't even tell. There must be 50, 60 --

WALLACE: It's funny, it doesn't look like foreskin (ph).

LENO: No, no. But when I get excited -- but never mind.


LENO: Yeah. The whole face --

WALLACE: Well, I won't try that to happen.

LENO: The whole face tightens up.

WALLACE: OK. So then --

LENO: Yes?

WALLACE: -- you've just healed from the fire and you decide what could I go wrong? I'm going to go motorcycle riding.

LENO: Well, I always ride -- I've been in motorcycles for 15 years.

WALLACE: I understand, but you crash. And as a result -- you can talk about it because there's a pretty good excuse -- you get a broken collar bore --

LENO: Right.

WALLACE: -- two broken ribs --

LENO: (Inaudible).

WALLACE: -- and two cracked kneecaps.

LENO: Right, right, right.

WALLACE: Are you all healed?

LENO: For the -- I mean, it's only a couple of months ago, so you've still got a little bit. But yeah, for the most part. You know, but at least it's a motorcycle. If I had slipped in my Pat Boone (ph) walk-in bathtub, that would have been really embarrassing. So, at least you get street credit, oh, you're in a motorcycle, or almost a 100-year- old motorcycle. It's like a 1940 Indian. And so, oh, so, you get a little bit of street credit.

WALLACE: Alright. So, in 2014 --

LENO: Yes.

WALLACE: -- you have barely finished "The Tonight Show" and you, of course, launch a new show, "Jay Leno's Garage."

LENO: I started it on YouTube in 2006.


LENO: And it's still on. We do 52 shows a year.


LENO: And then, the CNBC show is more celebrity-oriented and things of that nature.

WALLACE: Okay. But be that as it may, here are some clips from over the years.

LENO: All right, let's take a look.


ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, ACTOR: Do you want to crush something?

LENO: I'd love to -- what do you want to crush?

Well, because that's the Batmobile, we can't give you specifics.

I can tell you this, it's got a bat engine, it's got bat tires, bat brakes.

I wonder what we have up here. Are those --

UNKNOWN: Well, these are the turn signals.

LENO: Well, that seems more than safe.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But actually, we hit it quickly. Will you look at that?

LENO: Oh, yeah. It goes good.

BIDEN: Do you what I mean? It goes good. We just laid rubber.

LENO: Let me know when you're doing that so I won't bang my head again.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WALLACE: So, how unhappy is the Secret Service when you go out for a ride with the president of the United States and he's driving himself?

LENO: Oh, it's really -- I mean, they don't -- they don't fool around. Slow him down, Bob. Bob, I gotta -- I gotta slow him down -- I mean, you know, we were at the Secret Service training facility. It looked like public streets, but it is public streets and everything except it's not public. It's --


LENO: It's where -- it's where they teach them defensive driving and all that kind of stuff. So yeah, I was -- I mean, we're going pretty quick. When we -- you know, Biden got a Corvette in '67. He still has it. And I think he hit 128. We hit 128 miles an hour in a 50-year-old car. So -- and you're with the President of the United States, which is very funny.

WALLACE: That's the Corvette. That's where he was hiding his secret documents.

LENO: Right, right. Exactly, exactly.

WALLACE: Did you come away with any secret documents?

LENO: It was a funny mime of he and I driving it, and then documents flying off of the back. I saw that online. It really made me laugh.

WALLACE: So then there was the time when you rode with professional driver Bob Riggle. And thankfully, this did not happen with Joe Biden.

LENO: Right, right.


LENO: Damn it. Are you all right?


LENO: What's your name?

RIGGLE: Bob Riggle.

LENO: How old are you, Bob?

RIGGLE: Eighty.

LENO: What track are we at, Bob?

RIGGLE: We're at the Erwinville.

LENO: And (inaudible) right now?

RIGGLE: No. My name is Bob Riggle and I'm 80 and I'm in Erwinville.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LENO: Well, you know, the real trick to doing that is, you ever notice when drunks get in an accident, they don't get hurt because they're just loose. Everybody in that side, most people will tighten up like this.

So when you -- once you hit something, things break. You know, so it's just -- I just let myself go. I was strapped in. So, if your hands are -- boom. And I -- I was fine. The idea is not -- if you don't panic and almost anything --

WALLACE: And who would panic when your car is -- well, here's the question.

LENO: One, were you supposed to roll over?

LENO: No, no, no. You're not supposed to roll over. I mean, he totally (inaudible) the car.

WALLACE: So, how many times did you roll up?

LENO: Whatever it is there, I don't know, three, four times, something like that.

WALLACE: And was there any point in the middle of that process that you thought, this is not a good idea?

LENO: No, I thought, this is going to be great for ratings. This is just going to be unbelievable.

WALLACE: Did you really think that?

LENO: I did think that, because that's why I did that joke at the end. Remember, you tell the joke, my name is Bob -- my name is Bob Riggle and I'm the man -- yeah, that was kind of fun.

WALLACE: You come off as a regular guy, but you have been fabulously successful and occasionally very controversial. And how do you explain the ups and downs of Jay Leno's career?

LENO: How do you explain? You know, to me, I don't believe the good stuff, nor do I believe the bad stuff. Well, thank you, people, I thought the show was terrible. Well, thank you, I appreciate it. Hey, you were the best ever. Well, no, I'm not. But thank you for that, it's very nice too. You know, that's how you sort of keep a level head.

You know, I'm a huge believer in low self-esteem. I think it's the key to success. If you don't think you're the smartest person in the room, you shut up and you listen.

WALLACE: As you've honed your craft over the years, what's your process for writing a joke? How do you come up with a premise and how do you make it funny? Can you -- I mean, can you put that into words?

LENO: Well, the trick is to keep doing what you always did when you were broke, like I travel by myself. And people go, why do you do that? Because nothing funny happens to you if other people are doing things for you.

I mean, had some -- I was in Las Vegas last week. I was -- I was at the Wynn Hotel. It's like the big five fancy hotel. And I'm in the men's room on the main floor. And I go in. Let me wash my hands. So I go in the sink, you know, I put my hand on the thing. I'm going --

WALLACE: Right, so it's going to turn on electronically.

LENO: Yeah, I understand. So the guy, what's wrong with this faucet? The guy goes, oh, you gotta turn the faucet. What? Oh, it was over here. The guy went, oh, oh. I mean, and I thought, now see, if I was with somebody, that wouldn't have happened. I mean, it just made me a --

WALLACE: What do you mean, when you travel with people, do they turn on the faucets?

LENO: No, but I just -- I just look like a bad magician. People are watching me and I'm doing this, and they go, what's he doing?

WALLACE: Do you still go to a comedy club in Hermosa Beach?

LENO: Yes, I've been there every Sunday since 1978.

WALLACE: What, I'm trying to do -- almost 50 years?

LENO: Yeah. And to try out new material.

LENO: Jimmy Carter was president when I was there.

WALLACE: And how big is the club?

LENO: It's 350, something like that.

WALLACE: So Jay Leno, the host of "The Tonight Show," is in this comedy club in Hermosa Beach. Why?

LENO: Well, that's how you find out if it's any good or not. That's how you find out something's funny.


You know when you're on TV there's a laugh button. You know a lot of times you see comedians doing a monologue on "The Tonight Show" and it gets big laughs and they go to a and people are like it doesn't seem that funny because if they're primed to laugh then they'll laugh, but you got to turn them around. you know.

WALLACE: I read somewhere that when you were in high school, your guidance counselor said to your mother, you're in high school.

LENO: Oh, yeah.

WALLACE: You know, education isn't for everyone, Mrs. Leno.

LENO: That's right. That's right. Education is not for everyone. I remember he said, you know, Ms. Leno, your son works at McDonald's, doesn't he? My mom went, yeah. Well, you know they have an excellent program. They teach them how to make change. I'm going, hello, I'm in the room. Hello.

WALLACE: Were you that bad a student?

LENO: I'm dyslexic. So, I was a terrible student. Yeah, so, and you know, it's not like now, old dyslexic. Here was the cure for dyslexia when I was a kid, smarten up, smarten up, smarten up.

WALLACE (voice-over): Still to come, we dig into the late-night wars involving Jay Leno, David Letterman, and Conan O'Brien.

Plus, after surviving those two accidents, Leno reveals the only thing that would make him consider retirement. That's next.




WALLACE: Jay Leno hosted "The Tonight Show" on NBC for more than two decades as the successor to Johnny Carson. It was a controversial decision that became known as the late-night wars between him and fellow comedian, David Letterman. We continue our conversation talking about how Leno got his big break.

After college --

LENO: Yeah.

WALLACE: -- you move to L.A., you don't have a job, you don't have much money. And as I understand it you would check out the real estate ads to find houses that were --

LENO: Oh, yeah.

WALLACE: -- for sale and you'd go to the open house.

LENO: Go to the open house, yeah.

WALLACE: Well, explain why you went to the open houses?

LENO: Well, nobody had alarms on houses back --


LENO: -- in the 70's. So it's an open house noon to four. You get there 3.30, walk around, hey, thank you, slam the door, duck in the closet. When the realtor leaves, he locks up, and you live in the house for three days.

WALLACE: I mean literally --

LENO: Yeah. WALLACE: -- you would be in this house --

LENO: Yeah.

WALLACE: -- and it would give you a place --

LENO: Yeah.

WALLACE: -- to hang out.

LENO: And I -- and I didn't steal anything or destroy anything. I remember once I was sleeping in a house that belonged to one of the Beach Boys. It was on Coldwater Canyon and I'm sleeping, and I hear, now, let me show you the main bedroom in here. Woo! This woman goes -- there's a naked man and I go, sorry. The realtor, what are you doing? Sorry, excuse me, putting my pants on, sorry. And sneak out the door. But yeah, but I never got in. But, you know, I didn't break anything or ruin anything.

WALLACE: Okay. We're squatting.

LENO: Yeah, we're squatting. Yeah, exactly.

WALLACE: Okay. By 1977, you are successful enough that you get your first gig on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson."

LENO: Right.

WALLACE: And here it is.

LENO; Oh, yeah.


LENO: There's big mobile homes people driving around, and I understand why anybody would buy a mobile home. You might be saying to your wife, honey, I bring (ph) the house down. I got a pack of cigarettes. Why don't you wait here?


WALLACE: As I understand it for comedians, the key was not to make the audience laugh. The key was to make Johnny Carson laugh. And take a look at this because after your bit, Johnny calls you over to shake hands, which he didn't do most of the time.

LENO: Right, right.

WALLACE: So how big a deal was that?

LENO: Oh, it's a huge deal because that -- you know it's funny, now -- back in the day I would say easily a third of all the televisions are on -- a third or even half after 11:30 watching Johnny Carson. Now, you're competing with the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. You can watch all three Godfather movies back to -- I mean you got streaming everything. So, it's a little different. And when you're on TV on "The Tonight Show" in those days, everybody saw you. I mean the next day, you didn't have to do -- nowadays probably 10, 11 late night appearances just to reached same amount of people.

WALLACE: And then you get "The Tonight Show" and this begins the Tonight Show saga about you and David Letterman and who's going to get the job and you get picked over him.

I don't want to go through all of it, but what do you want us to understand about all of that?

LENO: Well, there are people who think I somehow stole the show from Dave. Johnny did want Dave to do the show. I started guest hosting in '86 and I guest hosted for five years. I was the only guest host.

The reason I got to be guest host was -- this is a classic example of -- this is why I didn't have an agent. I had an agent call me and they were like six or seven other comedians that were rotating guest, all handled by the same manager. And that manager called me and said, I would like to handle you, too. And I said, well, I'm okay. He goes, we're going to be asking $25,000 a show to host and we can get you $25,000 a show.

I said, you know, I'm doing it for $512, which is scale. He goes, well, I said, you know something? I'm going to keep doing it for $512. Okay. Because I knew Johnny owned the show. And when you had guest hosts, the ratings were all pretty close to the same.

By the end of the month, well, let's see. Why did we spend $100,000 when we could get this guy for $512? And that's how it became the permanent guest host. It was, I think, basically an economic decision.

WALLACE: On July 10th of 1995, you have Hugh Grant as a guest.

LENO: Right.

WALLACE: And this is just after he's been arrested for picking up a sex worker.

LENO: Right, right.

WALLACE: And this is the moment.

LENO: Right, right.


LENO: Let me start with question number one, what the hell were you thinking?



WALLACE: As someone who asks questions for 11, how did you come up with that? Because it was --

LENO; It's just perfect. It's just off the top of my head.

WALLACE: Really?

LENO: Yeah, it really was. You know, he was great. Nowadays, you have 100 handlers. I called him up, and I said, are you still in for tomorrow? He goes, yeah. He said, you know, I effed up. And you know, it's my fault. I said, okay. I said, I got to ask. He goes, I got it. Okay. I said, okay.

So, you know -- and he was great. He showed up, didn't have a publicist like nowadays, somebody explaining I was on Xanax. You know, none of that nonsense, you know, and he was honest about it.

WALLACE: Then in 2009, and it was all planned, Conan O'Brien replaces you. He's doing "The Tonight Show." NBC puts you on five nights a week at 10 p.m., which turns out to be a really terrible idea.

LENO: Terrible idea.

WALLACE: And within eight months, Conan's out, you're back on "The Tonight Show," and you're the villain again. So what would you have us understand about that?

LENO: To me, it's like any athletic event. You've got two teams or two boxers, you can still be friends and punch each other in the face. But, you know, I let them just that -- everybody attacked me and you're the villain, just all these sort of -- so I just let it go. I let it play out and all the other talk show host had a great time with it. I was a villain. I was a bad guy. That's fine that's a classic case of don't believe the good stuff or the bad stuff.

WALLACE: When you were on "The Tonight Show," you famously banked the money and lived off what you were making on the -- on the --

LENO: (Inaudible).

WALLACE: -- stand up comedy circuit, and which has led to something of a speculation on the Internet about how much you're worth. And it seems that the over-under is half a billion dollars?

LENO: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That sounds real close. Yeah.

WALLACE: You're saying you're worth over or under?

LENO: No, Under, under, under. Please. Yeah.

WALLACE; Are you in the neighborhood?

LENO: I'm still using Happy Meal coupons when I'm on the road. I live like a road comic. It's like, oh, I don't want to spend, you know -- it is funny when you have depression-era parents because you just live in this world of, if I don't make money this week, oh, I don't have any money, you know? And when I got "The Tonight Show," I lived on the comedian money and

banked the TV money. And suddenly Forbes once has Leno's brilliant economic strategy. No, I'm dyslexic. I -- my attitude is my money relaxes and I work. I put the money in a hammock, you guys sleep. If the same amount is here in a year when I come back, that's fine. Don't worry about it. I'll just keep throwing money on the pile. And that was my economic plan.

WALLACE: Finally --

LENO: Yeah.

WALLACE: -- at age 73, you strike me as somebody who can't and won't retire.

LENO: Well, I'm sure when I have my stroke, I'll retire. I mean, that's --

WALLACE: Well, I would not -- I mean, you know --

LENO: I know, but it's your like --

WALLACE: -- I mean, you're on your own after we've done this interview, but still, I'm hoping that you're gonna survive.

LENO: -- if you're like If you like doing something, it's fun to do. And of course, at this age, they're stunned that you're still alive. So, they go, oh my, look at this guy, he's playing at this club, he might be dead next year. Let's go see him. And it actually helps.

WALLACE: You get a lot of that, let's see him before he goes?

LENO: Yeah, you get a lot of that, actually. But now, you're sort of like, oh, you're -- you know, you're the legend, you're the late night -- but I meet an awful lot of young people, many people, guys in their -- men and women in their 40s and early 50s who grew up watching me on "The Tonight Show" with their dad or their grandparents and they like it because, you know, when you host that show, you just think you're awful. You think everybody hates you because -- especially when all the stuff is going on. You know, Howard Stern, everybody -- everyday -- just pounding you every day. So you think, okay, just keep my head down, plow forward. And then you find out there are people actually liked it and enjoyed it.

WALLACE: Well it seems to have worked. Jay, thank you.

LENO: Well, thanks.

WALLACE: And would you do me a favor? Would you be careful on the way out?

LENO: I will. I will be careful on the way out.

WALLACE: Okay, we're going to escort you to the door and then you run your run.

LENO: Well, thank you very much.

WALLACE: Up next, a big reveal from one of Hollywood's most celebrated directors.




WALLACE: Finally, tonight Oscar-winning director Quentin Tarantino has started sharing a few details about his tenth and apparently last movie. The controversial filmmaker behind cult classics like "Pulp Fiction" and "Inglourious Basterds" recently said it'll be called, the Movie Critic.

The storyline takes place in late '70s Los Angeles, and it's based on the real-life story of a movie critic for an important graphic magazine.

Last fall, Tarantino told me why he's wrapping up his directing career, while still at the top of his game.

You say that your next movie, your tenth, is going to be your last. Why? You're making great movies.

QUENTIN TARANTINO, WRITER AND DIRECTOR: Oh, thank you. Well, it's -- I've been doing it for a long time. I've been doing it for 30 years, and it's time to wrap up the show. You know, it's -- I've done it -- I've given my -- I've given my whole life to it, you know.

I didn't start a family until late in life. You know, I've been -- I've always kind of equated -- if you're doing movies on, you know, on the level that I've been doing -- actually the level I've been allowed to do, it's -- I equate it to mountain climbing, you know.

And so this movie is my Mount Everest and this movie is Klimanjaro and this is Fuji. And you know, I've spent all that time on the mountain. And like I said I'm an entertainer. I want to leave you wanting more, you know, and not just work -- and I don't want to work to diminishing returns.


I don't want to be -- what, I don't want to become this old man out of touch and already I'm feeling like an old man out of touch when it comes to the current movies that are out right now.

Right now, I don't even know what a movie is. Is that something that plays on Netflix? Is that something that plays on Amazon and everyone -- and people watch it on their couch with their wife or their husband? Is that a movie? Because my last movie opened up in 3,000 theaters and played all over the world, you know, for a couple of months.

Now, the thing is, I don't have the answer to that question, but I don't think anybody else does either. I think it's remains to be seen situation and so by that time I'll know what movies even are a few years from now.

WALLACE: Thank you for watching. You can catch my full interviews with Quentin Tarantino as well as with Dr. Phil and Jay Leno any time you want on Max. And please join us here on CNN every Friday night to find out who's talking next.