Jay Leno hosted The Tonight Show for 22 years and he spent almost all of that time atop the ratings, so he knows a thing or two about monologues, interviewing guests and what it takes to succeed as a late-night host on a major network.

And he thinks that Stephen Colbert is going to be great as David Letterman's replacement when the Colbert Report host assumes the Late Show throne at CBS next year.

"I think it's a real good choice," Leno told E! News' Jesse Giddings when we caught up with the comedian at his garage this week. "He's really funny and he's paid his dues. You know the people that do well at those jobs are the people that've paid their dues doing similar jobs, being a comedian on the road, doing a show on Comedy Central."

Stephen Colbert, Jay Leno

Also something Leno, who never ceased doing stand-up while doing The Tonight Show all those years, is familiar with. He recently got animated as well, voicing the Crystal Ball on Disney XD's The 7D, a take on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs that premieres July 7.

"He has a really good work ethic," Leno said of Colbert. "He's a smart guy...He's a worker, you know. He's a family guy."

"I like Stephen Colbert a lot," he concluded. "I like the silliness of his character and I think he will incorporate a lot of that into his show. I think he'll be Stephen Colbert and occasionally go into the character when needed. I think he'll be terrific."

And while Jay didn't pretend to have all the answers, he did have some advice for Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon's incoming competition. Watch the clip to hear what he had to say!

Don't miss more of our exclusive interview with Jay Leno, Monday on E! News at 7 p.m. & 11:30 p.m.

PHOTOS: More late-night talk show hosts

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