Today in owning it: Letterman

On Leno: "Isn't it funny that he always turns up at the scene of the crime?"

By Mary Elizabeth Williams
Published January 20, 2010 12:21PM (EST)

There was never any great love lost between David Letterman and Jay Leno, which is why one of the great secondary pleasures of the latest late night war has been Dave's untrammeled delight in it all. He's been regularly getting in his digs at his former rival since the whole house of cards started tumbling, but last night, his anger seemed to reach its apex.

"I know it's not his fault," Letterman said in his monologue, "but isn't it funny that he always turns up at the scene of the crime?" Later, he took to his desk to admit, "What we're seeing now is kind of vintage Jay. And it's enjoyable for me to see this ... I just can't help myself." He then went on to rip Jay's oh-so-serious sitdown with America the night before into tiny little shreds. "Please ... don't blame ... Conan! I hope you're not planning on ... blaming Conan!" he said, dripping with sarcasm. "In the thousands and thousands of words that have been printed about this mess, who has blamed Conan? No one." And then, in a final morsel of Götterdämmerung, the "Late Show" host advised Jay, "You get fired, get another gig. Don't hang around waiting for somebody to drop dead." BURNED.

Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a staff writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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Conan O'brien Jay Leno Television