The gloves are off, finally: Jay Leno shot back at David Letterman with a joke about his sex scandal on Wednesday’s edition of The Jay Leno Show, a night after Letterman characterized Leno pushing Conan O’Brien out of the Tonight Show chair as “vintage Jay.”
“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.”
The personal jab, unusually for the normally mild mannered Leno, was in reference to the scandal that erupted this past October, when Letterman admitted to cheating on his wife with women who worked for him, and the alleged $2 million extortion scheme that followed.
Letterman went for Leno’s jugular on his Tuesday broadcast, claiming Leno has been guilty of backstabbing, lying and plagiarism over the 35 years he has known him.
The battles between Leno and Letterman for Johnny Carson’s chair are well-chronicled in the 1994 book, The Late Shift, and 1996 film of the same name.
Leno was likely in better spirits Thursday, as NBC and O’Brien agreed on a $44 million deal for O’Brien to leave The Tonight Show, paving the way for Leno return to the chair he held from for 17 years.