David Letterman continued painting Jay Leno as a backstabber, liar and thief on The Late Show Wednesday, in the wake of the $44 million deal NBC struck up with Conan O’Brien, which all but assures Leno will reclaim The Tonight Show hosting job following NBC’s broadcast of the Winter Olympics in February.
In one bit titled Jay Leno: A Look Back, Leno was advertised as having stolen The Tonight Show from Letterman and O’Brien, pushing Johnny Carson out and even politicking to get Jack Paar’s job (Paar hosted the Tonight Show from 1957 to 1962, when Jay was 7 to 12-years-old.)
A huge negotiating point in O’Brien’s split with NBC, Letterman said, was that he could not take any of his trademark comedy bits.
“That’s OK, cause Jay will take them,” Letterman said, a night after one of his sketches hinted that Leno stole his Jaywalking routine, and former announcer John Melendez, from radio icon Howard Stern.
Leno, wary of the verbal abuse from his gap-toothed rival, struck back Wednesday at Letterman’s jugular — the extortion sex scandal in which Letterman admitted to cheating on his wife with Late Show staffers — with a joke of his own.
“Letterman had been hammering me every night,” Leno said. “Hey Kev, you know the best way to get Letterman to ignore you? Marry him. He will not bother you. He won’t look you in the eye.”