Dave Letterman Mauls Jay Leno, NBC; 'Don't Blame Conan!' He Pleads
By Mike Hess Posted Jan 20th 2010 11:37AM
"Don't Blame Conan" statement with a heated and harsh statement of his own, calling Leno "phony" and saying that nobody in the world is blaming Conan for the current situation. Watch the Carnage Below:
It seemed like Dave would stay mum on the issue for the most part, taking a few jabs at Leno and NBC in his monologue, but it wasn't until he sat down at his desk that the real vitriol began to flow.
"Every day I wake up and I say I'm going to keep my mouth shut about this NBC 'Tonight Show' thing because, honestly folks, I don't have a dog in this fight. But here's the deal. I've known Jay Leno for 35 years ... a long, long time. We used to buddy around in the old days, and what we're seeing now is vintage Jay, and it's enjoyable for me to see this," Letterman said.
Letterman said: "I just thought I'd keep my mouth shut because Lord knows I got my own problems, but I just can't help myself. And while it's true I don't specifically have a dog in this fight, I think in some way I and Paul are responsible for the mess ... because of the big stink we created when we left NBC years ago, they said 'Oh, that'll never happen again.'" He then went on to cite how Jay should have simply gone to a different network like Letterman did, and all of this would have been avoided.
He then went on to reference Leno's Monday night statement directly.
"So last night, Jay gave his state of the network speech, and he said that we should not blame Conan for what's going on. And I said to myself, 'No one is blaming Conan.' He further elucidated that who we should actually blame is Conan's agents and managers ... and then Jay pointed out that he himself has no agent or manager. So I'm begging you, ladies and gentlemen, please don't blame Conan. I know a lot of you people think Conan pushed himself out of a job. He's not that kind of guy. He would never do that to himself," Letterman joked to roaring applause. "In the thousands and thousands of words printed about this mess, who has blamed Conan? No one! No one has blamed Conan!"
Letterman insists further that Jay is in the wrong for not jumping to a new network when he gave up the 'Tonight' throne. "It's just part of evolution. You get fired and get another gig. Don't hang around waiting for somebody to drop dead," he joked.
"Well I feel I've gone too far yet again tonight," he said as he closed out his rant.
Prior to the Leno lashing, Letterman ran a fake commercial for the new 'Tonight Show,' in which he joked that key elements of Jay's show -- "the phony handshakes, the guy with the guitar who laughs at everything, the bit he stole from Letterman's late-night show, the bit he stole from Howard Stern, the announcer he stole from Howard Stern" -- would all be included in the new 'Tonight Show. Watch it below!
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