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Conan O’Brien only briefly acknowledged the biggest news in late night television on Wednesday, steering clear of taking shots at situation with which he is forever linked.
Half an hour into his TBS show, O’Brien gave a shout out to Jimmy Fallon, the man who in spring 2014 is succeeding Jay Leno as host of The Tonight Show — a role that O’Brien filled just four short years ago.
“I want to congratulate Jimmy. That is a really fun gig,” O’Brien said, as the audience broken in laughter. “You laugh, he said, but it really is. Jimmy is the perfect guy to do it.”
O’Brien continued praising Fallon, saying, “He’s going to do a fantastic job. So congratulations Jimmy.”
He did not mention Leno, who he replaced as Tonight Show host in 2009; the gig lasted less than a year before NBC brought back Leno, exiling O’Brien until he wound up at TBS.
David Letterman — the first host to lose a Tonight Show battle to Leno — went to town with the switch on Wednesday, including a direct reference to O’Brien’s downfall.
“Didn’t we just go through this? Jay Leno now is being replaced, and this is the second time this has happened,” the Late Show host said. “I mean, it’s crazy. He’s being replaced by a younger late-night talk show host — what could possibly go wrong? Honestly. They had pretty good luck with this in the past.”
He continued with the NBC cracks, and offered up a Tonight-inspired Top 10 list, as well, rattling off “Things We’ll Miss About Jay Leno.”
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