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If Keith Olbermann had known how much attention his brief suspension from MSNBC would get, he would have tried it ages ago!

Or so the Countdown host jested upon his return Tuesday after missing two whole shows, his network-approved punishment for making campaign contributions to several Democratic congressional candidates.

While most of the show was spent addressing other people's politics, as usual, Olbermann and his outsize personality couldn't resist getting in a few more jabs at the hilarity of it all.

MORE: What other controversy is brewing out there?

"Oh, hi...So, what's new?" he asked, his tongue literally in his cheek, as he strolled in front of the camera to start the show.

"I don't want to minimize my gratitude to you for the kind of support that's usually reserved for, like, Chilean miners," he began, his voice rising. "I'll be talking about it and the issues and the rest of my little adventure later in the show, but I need to address one thing right now."

This was not a publicity stunt, he reassured us.

"Of course, if I had known that all of this would happen, I would have done this years ago!"

Modestly making it Countdown's No. 1 story tonight, Olbermann returned to the melodrama later on.

"Just my luck, I get a four-day weekend after the World Series is over," Olbermann said, rolling his eyes.

"I'd like to close tonight by discussing something that I'm sure has happened to you dozens of times in your own life—you know, when there's a petition supporting you and it winds up being signed by 300,000 people, and you get 21,000 tweets in a 72-hour period, and then you're invited to be on television because you aren't on television, because they want you to be the lead story on Good Morning America...and Larry King...and Letterman...and you break the traffic records on the Huffington Post...and you're on the front page of the New York Times without being dead or in jail or Charlie Sheen?

"Well, maybe you're used to it, but for me it was kind of a surprise," he deadpanned. "And all I can seriously say is, I'm stunned and grateful, and it still feels like a universal hug."

He did apologize, however, "for having subjected you to all this unnecessary drama."

We'll bounce back, thanks, but we appreciate the thought.