Rumors are flying around the ongoing shake-up in NBC’s late-night schedule, but there are only a few things we know for sure: Jay Leno definitely won’t have a show at 10 p.m. once the Olympics wrap up, Conan O’Brien refuses to do “The Tonight Show” at 12:05 a.m., and both of them have been at their funniest in the face of adversity.
Not only have the two comedians been sniping at each other, but they’ve also welcomed outside involvement from other late-night hosts. On Tuesday night, Jimmy Kimmel spent the first part of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” doing a prolonged and scathing Leno impression. On Thursday night, Leno welcomed Kimmel to “The Jay Leno Show” via Leno’s “10 @ 10″ segment, wherein a celebrity answers 10 questions via satellite. And even though they were on Leno’s home turf, Kimmel didn’t pull any punches.
“What’s the secret to a good Jay Leno impression?” the host asked Kimmel during the segment.
“Well, I don’t like to give away my secrets,” Kimmel said. “But it’s a combination of Sylvester the Cat, Curly from ‘The Three Stooges’ and Scrappy-Doo.”
Kimmel admitted that the Leno impression was his idea and didn’t come from his writers. Later, when asked what his dream interview would be, Kimmel said, “It would be you and Conan at the same time, because I have a lot of questions for you.”
But the most scathing moment came when Leno asked Kimmel what his favorite prank was. “I told a guy that five years from now, I’m going to give you my show, and then I gave it to him and took it back almost instantly,” Kimmel said, drawing groans and horrified laughter from Leno’s audience. “I think he works at Fox or something now.”
At that point, Kimmel was rolling. “Ever order anything off the TV?” Leno asked.
“You mean the way NBC ordered your show off the TV?” Kimmel replied. When asked about strippers, Kimmel said, “I don’t like strippers because you have a phony relationship with them for money. Sort of like the way you and Conan were on ‘The Tonight Show’ together passing the torch? You know what I’m saying.”
Leno kept a stiff upper lip throughout the appearance and played along as Kimmel kept nailing him. It ended with Kimmel getting in one last shot.
“Listen, Jay, Conan and I have children,” he said. “All you have to take care of is cars. We have lives to lead here. You have $800 million. For God’s sake, leave our shows alone!”