In the growing national divide that is Team Conan and Team Leno, you can place Sarah Silverman squarely in the corner of the red-headed host of ‘The Tonight Show’ whose days at NBC have dwindled to the final hours, if not minutes.
The Jay vs. Conan furor continued to be the hot topic at the Television Critics Association press tour Friday and the outspoken Silverman – there to promote the return of ‘The Sarah Silverman Program‘ next month – was not one to pass up the opportunity to weigh in on behalf of her old pal.
“I literally was on Team Conan, I played on their indoor soccer league,” she said during an impromptu Q&A session with a small group of TV writers. “The first time I ever got recognized in the street it was from being on Conan all the time. So my heart is sort of there. … I’m friends with the people who work on that show and Conan as well. They moved their families, their kids are in school.. I mean, really? Six months? Give the guy a [expletive] chance.”
She is astounded at O’Brien’s treatment at the hands of NBC which wants to push back ‘Tonight’ to 12:05 a.m. each day. The host has refused.
“He did so much for them at 12:30,” Silverman said of O’Brien who hosted ‘Late Night with Conan O’Brien’ on NBC for 17 years. “Then again, I’m somebody who would probably be jazzed to stay at 12:30. I like being able to do whatever I want to do. They all want that coveted 11:30.”
But Silverman had only mild comments about Leno unlike Rosie O’Donnell who at TCA Thursday said “shame on” Leno for being willing to take his old time slot back after his ratings-challenged prime-time show was canceled.
“I have nothing bad to say about anybody but I do recall a certain young Jay Leno say that he was going to take his wife, Mavis, out to dinner by the time he was 60,” Silverman pointed out. “Mavis is starving!
In the end, she just wants the best for her old friend: “I hope that Conan ends up at Fox with everything he ever wanted.”
Silverman, the ex-girlfriend of ABC’s late night host Jimmy Kimmel, said she herself would never want that kind of gig: “I like to be the funny one, the guest. And it never really ends. I’ve been close to a late night talk show and it’s like you finally finish a show and you’ve got to get right into the next one. I’m a quality of life person. I like having like lunch with friends.”