Late-night TV simmered down Thursday on the topic of itself, with only Jay Leno and David Letterman continuing to comment on the big news announced Wednesday that Leno will be replaced by Jimmy Fallon next year.
Fallon had no monologue jokes about it, and neither did Jimmy Kimmel on ABC.
But Leno made it the subject of two monologue jokes on “The Tonight Show” Thursday night, plus a visual bit that was a spoof of the now-infamous videotape of fired Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice throwing basketballs at his players and (seemingly) attacking them physically.
Following a series of jokes about the belligerence of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Leno said, “In all seriousness now, some experts believe that North Korea may have the missile capacity to reach Los Angeles. That’s why NBC is moving ‘The Tonight Show’ to New York! Of course! It makes perfect sense!”
He then made a joke that was an indirect reference to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s infamous affair with his housekeeper. “I wanna set the record straight,” Jay said. “My leaving the show has nothing to do with the baby my housekeeper had a couple of weeks ago! That was totally coincidental!”
But to better explain the reasons why he’s being forced out, Leno said it was all because of a “leaked” videotape of him mistreating his “Tonight Show” writers.
Meanwhile, on Letterman’s “Late Show,” an item about Leno was inserted into Thursday’s “Top Ten” list, which was recited, via satellite, by Kevin Ware, the recuperating University of Louisville basketball player who broke his leg on national TV.
The list was titled “Top Ten Thoughts Going Through Kevin Ware’s Mind at the Moment of the Broken Leg.” No. 3 was: “They fired Leno?”
While Kimmel refrained from commenting on the Leno-Fallon succession plan Thursday night on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” he did reportedly make a welcoming gesture to Fallon and his “Late Night” staff. Apparently, Kimmel ordered lunch from a famous New York deli and had it delivered to the Fallon show. Fallon thanked him here on Twitter.
Our take: Well, Kimmel’s certainly acting friendly now, but just wait until these two start competing. Then the gloves will be off.