We’re accustomed nowadays to seeing David Letterman take the occasional shot at his long-time rival Jay Leno, but it’s rare to see Jay do the same thing to Dave.
That’s why the Letterman joke Leno delivered Monday night — which came near the outset of Leno’s “Tonight Show” monologue (video, above) — was so notable. In case you missed it, the joke started out as a comment on New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and his bitterness over losing the Super Bowl to the New York Giants in Indiana. It wound up referring to Letterman’s roots in the Hoosier state.
“Patriots coach Bill Belichick, he’s pretty curmudgeonly anyway,” Leno said. “He was not happy after the game. I haven’t seen a man that miserable coming out of Indiana since . . . Letterman!”
It’s doubtful that Leno was retaliating to anything specific that Letterman has said about him lately. More likely, Leno delivered the joke because he thought it was a funny line that would go over well in his monologue — which it did (the audience roared).
But it was only last week that Letterman carried on a lengthy conversation with Howard Stern about Leno on CBS’s “Late Show.” In that segment, Letterman actually seemed to reveal that, despite his long rivalry with Jay, he has a soft spot for him. Still, he did launch into one of his occasional impersonations of Jay, imitating Jay’s high-pitched voice.