Both David Letterman and rival Jay Leno figured into each other’s shows Wednesday night, with Leno mentioning Dave during his “Tonight Show” monologue, and Dave taking a shot at Jay in a “Top Ten” list.
Letterman’s jibe came amidst a “Top Ten” titled “Top 10 Signs Your Congressman is an Idiot.” Based on the list’s name, you might conclude from the item that referred to Leno that Dave was calling Jay an idiot, at least indirectly.
The list, seen on Letterman’s “Late Show,” was inspired by some recent idiotic behavior on the part of some U.S. congressmen, including Missouri Republican Todd Akin’s statement that women are somehow capable of warding off pregnancies if they result from rapes. Another incident inspired the list too — the one in which six congressmen on a “fact-finding” trip to Israel allegedly took a drunken swim in the Sea of Galilee, a location associated with the story of Jesus. And one of the congressmen was reportedly nude too.
So Dave put this list together with items such as: “No. 10 — His desk is a foosball table!” and “No. 3 — Thinks ‘bi-partisan’ means two kinds of grated cheese!”
But it was No. 7 that caught our attention: “No. 7 — Brags that he never spends his congressional paycheck – lives off his stand-up money!” That is, of course, an adaptation of something Leno is famous for claiming — that he makes so much money as a stand-up comedian on weekends and vacations that he simply banks the money NBC pays him for “The Tonight Show” (an estimated annual salary of $20 million or more — according to the recent stories about Jay accepting a pay cut).
Meanwhile, Letterman’s name came up in Leno’s monologue, but it was not in the context of some sort of shot aimed at Dave. It came when Leno brought up the subject of the big announcement earlier this week that ABC will move “Jimmy Kimmel Live” to compete directly with Jay and Dave at 11:35 p.m. eastern time, starting in January.
And Jay’s remarks weren’t even specifically about that. Instead, he referred to a story on the Kimmel announcement that aired earlier this week on “The NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.” On that subject, Leno complained — comically, of course — of the photo composite seen on the Williams newscast in which head shots of Leno, Kimmel and Letterman were juxtaposed.
Leno’s complaint: The photos of Kimmel and Letterman were a lot more flattering than the photo “Nightly News” chose for Jay.