Target: Jay Leno
It's open season on Jay Leno. David Letterman really pulled out the stops last night, making Leno out to be the villain in the late night drama.
Letterman said on his show, "So they said, sure, Conan, you can have The Tonight Show in 2009. So they went to Jay "big jaw" Leno and they told him, Jay, we're taking away your show away from you and Jay said (in a high pitch voice) "Yeah, sounds pretty good to me."
Letterman didn't stop there, saying, "NBC has to scramble and find shows to fill that 10pm slot. Look at what they've come up with so far, I think you're going to like this one."
Letterman then played a tape mocking NBC's Law & Order introduction which said, "In the television industry there are two kinds of talk show hosts, Jay Leno and those who have been victimized by Jay Leno. These are their stories."
J. Max Robins of the Paley Center for Media says, "As far as David Letterman, there's something about his humor, the real cutting tone to it...oh yeah, part of this is personal."
Conan, with the help of Deal Or No Deal's Howie Mandel, also took a shot at Leno. Conan's consolation prize for losing The Tonight Show? Two tickets to see Jay Leno perform stand up at the Luxor casino in Las Vegas.
ABC's Jimmy Kimmel joined in the attacks on his show, saying, "Hello, hello, my name is Jay Leno. Let it hereby be known I'm taking over all the shows in late night."
Kimmel dressed up like Leno donning a prosthetic chin and gray wig. He even completed the gag with a mocking lisp. TV Guide called the joke a "vicious" and "scathing imitation."
Jimmy Kimmel continued with, "Conan O'Brien today announce he's leaving NBC. He released a statement today saying 'I won't participate in the destruction of The Tonight Show.' Fortunately though, I will."
Craig Ferguson also got in on the act saying a movie about the late night scandal has already been cast, with Tilda Swinton playing Conan O'Brien and the ventriloquist puppet Madame playing Leno.