Jay Leno recalls classic Hugh Grant interview

Jay Leno recognizes Hugh Grant as a complete professional following his 1995 arrest for engaging with a prostitute.

When we think of the most iconic late night talk show moments, there are a few that stand out: Crispin Glover nearly taking off David Letterman’s head, Andy Kaufman slapping Jerry Lawler in the face in 1982 and Jay Leno asking Hugh Grant on July 10th, 1995, “What the hell were you thinking?” following his June arrest for engaging in sexual acts with a prostitute named Divine Brown. We couldn’t have said it better, Jay.

Speaking with Chris Wallace on his titular show, Jay Leno remembered giving Hugh Grant one last chance to back out of the interview, which was scheduled well before the incident. “You know, he was great. Nowadays, you’d have 100 handlers. I called him up, and I said, ‘You still in for tomorrow?’ He goes, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘You know, I effed up. And, you know, it’s my fault.’”

Hugh Grant also handled the situation professionally on the day of the interview, with Jay Leno recalling he came in without the typical posse that might accompany a celebrity—especially after such a tabloid-blasted situation. “He showed up, didn’t have a publicist like nowadays, somebody explaining it who was on Xanax. So none of that nonsense, you know, and he was honest about it.”

During the Leno interview itself, Hugh Grant was honest about his arrest, answering the host’s off-the-cuff question, “I think you know in life what’s a good thing to do and what’s a bad thing, and I did a bad thing. And there you have it.” Yup, there you have it. And there we have one of the greatest celebrity mugshots ever, with due respect to Nick Nolte.

Of note, the arrest and interview came just ahead of the release of the Julia Roberts-co-starring Nine Months. While Nine Months (a movie Grant actively hates his performance in–but at least it’s not psychotic) opened poorly, falling behind Apollo 13 and Under Siege 2, the Hugh Grant interview would see Leno overtake Letterman in the ratings. Hey, Tom Arnold wasn’t exactly going to give Letterman a boost that night…

Did you watch Hugh Grant’s interview with Jay Leno when it aired? How do you think Grant handled the situation? Give us your take below!