Jay and Conan Spoof Each Other

Late-night hosts continue to mine shake-up drama for laughs

By Daniel Macht
|  Thursday, Jan 14, 2010  |  Updated 5:48 AM CDT
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Leno's "Tonight Show" Best

Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien have used their shows as a forum to discuss NBC's late-night decisions.

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Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien are beginning to lob a few choice zingers at one another in monologues after several nights of jointly firing salvos at their employer.

Leno kicked off his prime-time show Wednesday night by noting O’Brien’s refusal to move to a new time slot.

“Conan O’Brien is very upset,” Leno said. “Conan said NBC had only given him months to make the show work. Seven months! How did he get that deal? We got four months. Who’s his agent?”

O’Brien returned the fire on his program after again noting, as he has in the past, that hosting “The Tonight Show” has fulfilled a lifelong dream.

But he delivered this message to “all the kids out there watching: You can do anything in life -- Unless Jay Leno wants to do it too.”

Earlier this week, O'Brien announced he would not to go along with NBC's plan to move “Tonight” to 12:05 a.m. to make way for Jay Leno, whose show would move from 10 p.m. to 11:35 p.m. beginning next month.

The shakeup would end the network's controversial effort to fill the prime time slot and local news lead-in with Leno.

For the past week, O’Brien and Leno have set their sights on NBC, venting frustration with the way the network has handled the line-up shuffle. The late-night hosts jabbed at the peacock network again on Wednesday.

Leno said war critics have stopped comparing Afghanistan to Vietnam because they now are "calling it another NBC,” he joked.

He also termed the network “America’s most dysfunctional family.”

“You thought the Gosselins were bad. Oh my God,” Leno joked.

Later, O’Brien made light of a new TVGuide.com poll, where 83 percent of voters said they wanted the red-haired host to keep his 11:35 time-slot.

“When he heard this poll number, President Obama asked, 'How can I get NBC to screw me over?" O’Brien said.

O'Brien also aired a doctored clip of Obama on CNN that identified the president as a "Team Coco" supporter.

“Conan is a friend of mine. He has been a stalwart champion,” the heavily edited Obama said. “This is a good man who has always been on the right side of history, and for people to try to make hay out of that makes absolutely no sense.”

Even "Kenneth the page" weighed-in on the drama after sauntering onto O’Brien’s studio as if he were leading a tour group on NBC's "30 Rock."

“This is the former home of “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien,” the actor, Jack McBrayer, told his group in deadpan. “Here’s a fun fact. NBC spent more time building the studio than using it.”

NBC has declined to comment on O'Brien's declaration, announced in a press release Tuesday afternoon. Still, the lanky comic held out hope that he can work things out with the network.

"My hope is that NBC and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that values our work," O'Brien said in his statement.

Read Conan's full statement here.
 

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