1. Teased by their peers, but always ratings winners
Leno is thought of by many comedians as a hack — ask Howard Stern or Jimmy Kimmel — but he brings in the audiences. Leno was the ratings king of late night from 1995 to 2009, when he left the Tonight Show. Once he was installed back in that throne, he took the numbers crown again.
Meanwhile, Fieri earns scorn from high-end chefs like Anthony Bourdain (not to mention New York Times food critics) but he is considered the “face” of the Food Network, with a rotating number of specials in addition to his Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.
3. They share a love of classic cars
4. Both are still road warriors, performing nationally
Even though they are highly visible via television, Fieri and Leno both take their show on the road as often as possible. Leno has continued to perform a grueling number of stand-up dates throughout his Tonight Show run (he keeps the TV money in a vault and spends the stand-up cash), while Fieri has his own tour and also appears at plenty of food festivals.
5. Short stays in NBC primetime
Jay Leno went from The Tonight Show at 11:35 to a disastrous run at 10 p.m. in 2009. It was short-lived because the ratings were so low that local affiliates straight up revolted. Fieri, meanwhile, hosted two seasons of the low-rated game show Minute to Win It.
6. A kinship with Adam Sandler
Adam Sandler and friends were just on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives to promote Grownups 2. Meanwhile, Sandler is a frequent guest on The Tonight Show, and even gave Leno some controversial advice on air back in 2009 (he told him to go to Fox).
7. A love for fast food
Fieri is no stranger to unhealthy food, and has his own burger chain aboard Carnival Cruise lines. Leno, meanwhile, has always indulged in populist fare, and even worked at a McDonalds when he was young.
8. An affiliation with T.G.I. Fridays
Fieri cut ads for the restaurant chain for two years. Leno did this in 1993.