Kanye West on Leno: Did Jay go too far?

Kanye West just offered a pretty heartfelt apology on Leno‘s kickoff episode tonight, before joining Jay-Z and Rihanna for a phenomenal run through Jay-Z’s recent single “Run This Town.” During the brief interview segment, Leno asked West what the rapper’s late mother would have said about the Taylor Swift incident, eliciting a long, emotional, and excruciatingly awkward pause. I can’t defend Kanye’s awful behavior at the VMAs, but it seemed like a bit of a low blow, especially coming from nice-guy Jay Leno.

What did you think? Did Kanye deserve that kind of grilling, or is bringing up his mother a bit unfair?

More from EW’s Music Mix:
Kanye West interrupts Taylor Swift’s VMAs moment: What was he thinking?
Kanye West apologizes for interrupting Taylor Swift at the VMAs: “I’m not crazy…I’m just real.”
Lil Mama on VMAs run-in with Jay-Z, Alicia Keys: “I did not mean any disrespect”
Whitney Houston on ‘Oprah’: What do you think so far?


Comments (527 total) Add your comment
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  • chriswilltucker

    I think it’s a valid question, and I’m glad Leno had the cojones to ask. And, don’t forget, Kanye mentioned his mother in last night’s ALL CAPS “APOLOGY” TO TAYLOR on his website.

    • Emma

      Lower than ruining Taylor’s VMA moment in that inexcusable fashion? No! That man can apologize all he pleases (or whatever his publicist convinces him is necessary to salvage his career) it doesnt change bringing that poor girl to tears. And believe it or not, I’m not even a Taylor Swift fain.

    • Michael K Scott

      If Jay goes easy on someone he gets slammed, if he asks a question like that he gets slammed. It was a valid question and I was surprised Jay did have the pair to ask, nice lil boost to his first show

      • Boris

        Do you realize how scripted (or at the very least “outlined”) talk shows are? Jay asked it because he was told to ask it to elicit sympathy for Kanye… and it worked.

      • jk

        The show being scripted and outlined (which everyone knows) doesn’t change the fact that he asked the question. And yes, I felt it was a legitimate question.

      • LaRue

        there were soo many people who contacted the Leno show saying that they would NOT be a patron of his new show if he had Kayne on after he snatched the mike from Taylor. Jay Leno HAD to either cancel Kayne or ask him some hard questions to keep out of the fallout….Kayne was booked just to sing…if he had not showed remorse….Leno’s show would have really been hurt. I believe that if Leno not KNOWN that Kayne was going to show remorse…Leno would have canceled him…it would have really hurt Leno’s show.
        You can probably still look at the comments made on Monday to Leno’s show to see the attitude alot of people had(me included)

      • It’s Me

        Scripted or not, hopefully it embarassed him. I do not and never have liked country music, but that girl was chosen as the winner of that award and he did not have the right to steal that moment from her. It was very nice that Beyonce brought her back out but it did not give back what he took from her. He is a self-centered, egotistical ass and deserves to get treated as badly as Chris Brown is right now.

      • Dee

        @ Tue 09/15/09 3:44 AM, Boris said:
        “Jay asked it because he was told to ask it to elicit sympathy for Kanye… and it worked”
        No, it did not work. I think he just had a whole day to realize how disgusted people were with him and that’s what he was feeling bad about. He still deserves all insults hurled at him.

      • Mary San Diego

        Word! I agree that Jay asked the question in a very fatherly way. I am not sure if the response was entirely sincere, but who knows? I really hope that we all learn from this kind of stuff. I was really upset that the President was taped calling him a jackass. “Can’t we all just get along?”

      • pappycaligula

        As big of an entertainer and businessman Leno is, I still believe the question shows Jay isn’t phony. West’s pause and all didn’t elicit any sympathy from me. Jay just asked the question straight out. It’s what needed to be asked. You brought SHAME on your family. I’m totally with Josh, T-Man, and NoCanDo. I’m no Taylor Swift fan either BUT maybe the positive is, I might start listening to her more. (AND I have a little more respect for Beyonce in the process too!)

    • josh

      It’s the question that immediately came to my mind when I read about this incident, so I’m glad it was asked.

      It’s instant karma – West put Swift in a horribly awkward situation, and 24 hours later, he finds himself in same.

      • T-Man

        Josh you are so right. Kanye needs to feel this for months to come. If his apology was from the heart, and if he could say it where he could be believed then MAYBE people would accept it. Taylor has taken the higher road and I think she has accepted it, but I don’t think she will ever forget it and neither will we, the public. I have heard this is not his first time acting this way about other things that he throws the race card on. If that is so, I guess he is one sad human being that doesn’t deserve any of the success the fans have given him. I hope he goes broke, as broke as you can get.

      • NoCanDo

        The jerk is no more sorry than I am a woman. He needs to go away, far away, like maybe another country. STFU Kanye, noone believes you and your done. Its over!

      • Reks

        NoCanDo, since I never met you I don’t know if you’re a woman or not. By the way who is Noone?

    • Sally in Chicago

      Jay would have been better asking, what would you father think? Because his dad is alive; his mother isn’t.

      • jk

        But his mother raised him, and she raised him well. She was a respectable woman and Kanye didn’t act this way when she was alive. His behavior is exactly what his mother wouldn’t want him to do. That’s what Jay was going for. And because his mother is no longer alive, that question has a lot more weight, which is clearly why Rob Brunner asked if we thought it was a low blow.

      • sonja

        Um…he stormed the stage at the European VMA’s to complain his video didn’t win. This was before his mom passed.

      • Kelly

        Um yes Kanye did act like a horse’s patootie when his mother was alive? Do you not remember the Katrina concert where he was speaking with Mike Meyers and he said that George Bush hates black people? The look on Mike Meyer’s face was one of shock and disbelief. It’s one thing to believe that, another to actually put it out there. Totally uncalled for.

      • jk

        Ok, he did act that way when his mother was alive at times. You’re kind of missing my point: that his mother would have been ashamed at how he behaved the other night and Jay knew that Kanye would agree with that statement.

      • Amy

        Perez Hilton was right. As all of you are listing Kanye’s outbursts(what a legacy to leave) and once this blows over, he’ll just be an ass all over again. Really sucks because he is so talented.

      • Dude

        No one missed your point. you stated something untrue and they called you out on it. Try not to be wrong and people will get your point.

      • jk

        I’m not saying that what i said was true, I’m saying that the untrue information was not the point of my post. So yes, they did miss my point.

    • Sansevieria

      Jay did not go too far. If Kanye didn’t want his dead mother being brought up, he should have thought about his actions before he committed them.


      • LALOCA

        Omg…Relax…So sick of people acting like he killed someone..
        Where was all of this outrage when that man called the POTUS a liar? Seriously? Priorities People!

      • Deb

        He may not have killed someone but he ruined what was a first for a young performer; that is something she will never get back; he took it from her; her first VMA win and the pride and happiness she was entitled to feel; so he is a jerk and he deserves every bit of flack people are giving him and the President is right, he is a jacka$$ and he needs to give serious thought to his drinking issues because he certainly seems to have them if he is walking a red carpet drinking straight from a bottle and offering it to other performers on camera before the show.

      • Amy

        LALOCA, it’s just that Kanye keeps repeating this crappy behavior. He “apologizes” for a few weeks and he’s right back where he started.

      • Niix Starkyller

        What’s going to happen, I believe, is that Taylor Swift will urge people to forgive him and move on. It will further her image as a sweet li’l country girl (not saying it’s untrue or anything) and allow Kanye to move on. What he does with that grace will be entirely up to him. He would be wise to record a song full of unequivocal apology for letting his inner jerk run loose, and let the single profits go to a charity of her choice.

      • samiam

        The dif LALOCA is this kanye took what should have been a special moment away from a gracious young lady. Rep Wilson called out POTUS when he lied. Decorum aside, the emporer WAS wearing no clothes.

    • realtalk

      You internet nerds really do get offended by all caps, huh? Get a F’n life.

      • gobears

        You’re commenting on a story posted on a website and calling someone an internet nerd? Time for you to look in the mirror. Embrace your geekiness!!!

    • nunnya

      I agree. I think it’s a valid question and maybe one he should have asked himself before doing what he did. I can forgive him. I hope he learns some humility.

    • Jackie

      It’s what was going through my mind when it happened. I thought to myself “Is this how your mother brought you up to behave? She would be ashamed of you right now”.

    • not kanye

      kanye deserves every bit of grief he receives following his tantrum at the VMA’s, which is just the latest in a long history of egotistical rants at the expense of those around him. he is one seriously unstable individual and should definitely retire from doing anything in the public eye for the remainder of his existence.

      • laydee

        Kanye is in the public eyes all the time and lost his mom recently…Anything celebrities do is going to be front page! He may have not gone out and got drunk,shaved his hair off,married someone for a few hours, or walked out of rehab. He expressed his opinion (on T.V).No law broken there.

      • JoJo

        If the only rules we followed were official laws, we would still have chaos. The importance of the rules of common decency, of interpersonal conduct, and knowing the time and place to voice your opinion clearly never made it into his thick skull.

    • LoveVioletFlame

      I think the question was appropriate. Listen to the tones in Jay’s voice as he questions Kanye. Professional, yet not confrontive in delivery, authentic compassion in voice. I’m a professional therapist, trained in listening for subtleties. It was as if Jay became a voice for consciousness.
      Goosebump moment, and a star for good journalism! Bravo, Jay! (And bravo, too, Kanye for taking the consequences of your actions publicly. Who among us hasn’t made mistakes?)

    • Deb

      I would have liked to see Kanye West answer…he knows what his mother would have said and been…ashamed of her child

      • Erik

        The thing is, we all know what Kanye’s mom would’ve said, that’s why the question didn’t need to be asked. There’s no chance of getting an interesting answer, the only purpose it served was to shame Kanye even more.

    • vbresd

      H to the ELL Yes. Take what you give, and you deserve to be called on the carpet, even by the memory of your mother. Should that make you feel worse? H to the ELL Yes. No level and amount of damage control will save you now. As Danny Gokey put it “…how can you be so heartless?…” All I can say is YOUR NOW ON LOCKDOWN, you jerk!

    • Word

      He put him in his place and yea it’s a valid question. I didn’t see the interview but all these hip hop peeps grap their crotches…did he grab his crotch when he was talking about his mommy??

  • barnok

    For something so OBVIOUSLY unplanned, it sure is a coincidence that Kanye was on Leno tonight, AND Taylor is on the View tomorrow. Sheesh.

    • He’s a Real Jerk

      Kanye was booked months ago. I don’t know if Taylor was previously booked, or booked b/c of what happened Sunday. Just because big stars appear on talk shows doesn’t make this whole thing a conspiracy.

    • gobears

      wait.. so you think Kanye jumping on stage was a plan between Kanye and Taylor Swift? You think bush caused September 11th and the moon landing was a big hoax too?

      • stephanie


      • LALOCA

        Def think Bush had something to do with 9/11..not so sure about the other 2

    • Felicia

      Watch her face after he left the stage. She was humiliated and honestly didn’t seem to know what to do. That wasn’t faked.

    • Niix Starkyller

      Every once in a while, real life interferes with the celebrity world. Don’t be so cynical that you forget what genuine emotion looks like. You’ll just rob yourself of being human.

  • Dwight K Schrute

    F them both.

    • Mose

      Dwight, get to bed. There are beets to be harvested tomorrow.

      • Dubs


      • daniel jackson


      • lajean

        LOL! thanks!

  • reverend

    I didn’t think it was low at all. He prefaced the question with the fact that he had the good chance to meet his mother years ago, and he wanted to know what his mother would have thought of her son’s behavior the night before. I thought it was an appropriate question since Kanye seemed to be dancing around the actual apology. What I do agree with Kanye with is that he needs some time off. He looked out of it, except when performing. Go find yourself young man.

    • Deb

      He looked either drunk or stoned…he needs some time off…in rehab

  • Aaron

    I thought it was a fair question to ask, seeing as Jay had talked to his mom prior to her death. I’m sure it was a question all of us were thinking – like, didn’t his mom teach him to treat people better than that?? At the same time, I’m sure Jay is secretly thanking his lucky stars Kanye did this the day before his show, and then didn’t cancel – I was already going to watch it, but that made me want to see it even more!

  • graeme

    Kanye apologized. Let’s move on.
    I actually smell a Kanye/Swift duet brewing.

    • Jess

      Apologies only mean something if you plan to change the behavior. This is at least the third time he has done this same thing.

      • Amy

        Yes! So true. He keeps saying he’ll change, then he continues to do one obnoxious thing after another. This guy honestly thinks he’s the center of the universe. I don’t know how that’s ever going to change.

      • bb

        cannot buy culture, cannot get the bush out of him.

  • Jeff Warner

    He deserves every little bit of harshness thrown at him. If I were Jay, I would have been tougher. If he can dish it, then he should be able to take it.

  • Eric

    Part of me thinks it was low but another part thinks it’s good for him to have to start thinking before he does stupid things.

  • ftuk

    Leno didn’t bring up Kanye’s mother, Kanye did by blaming his outburst on her death.

    • Lou

      He’s been using her death as a convenient excuse ever since the day of her death. He is a sad excuse for a man.

  • Savid Getterman

    Screw that Irish fathead…

    • DABAUM


    • BlackIrish4094

      Screw you @sshole, you wish you were lucky enough to be Irish. Hmm, Getterman huh? Would you be offended if someone made an anti-Jewish comment, bet you would. Ethnic slurs are a sign of a weak mind.

    • emerald

      Sticks and stones Getterman!! His reply to you should be “Multi-millionaire Irish Fathead thanks!” lol!

  • Christina

    low blow.

  • Samantha

    I thought it was a fair question to ask as well. Plain and simple.

  • Justyn

    He got what he deserved. And he deserves more than that

  • dj4our

    He didn’t go too far. If West can dish it, he better be able to take it. He was getting served some humble pie by a guy who’s been at it since before he was born.

  • Samantha

    And Kanye should not get a get out of jail free card b/c of Leno’s question.

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