As David Letterman once proved to be a good idea, if NBC gives you lemons, squeeze 'em back in the network's face.
"Hello, my name is Conan O'Brien, and I may soon be available for children's parties," the possibly outgoing Tonight Show host kicked off Tuesday's monologue, just hours after informing the "people of Earth" that he has no interest in hosting the nearly 50-year-old broadcast at 12:05 a.m. if NBC chooses to put Jay Leno back on at 11:35 p.m.
"Welcome to NBC," O'Brien continued, "where our new slogan is, 'No longer just screwing up prime-time.'
"When I was a little boy, I remember watching The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson and thinking, 'Someday, I'm going to host that show for seven months.' "
NBC has not yet responded to O'Brien's serious-yet-humorous missive from this morning. So Letterman, still sounding pretty scarred from the late-night wars that took him from NBC to CBS in 1993, fired back instead.
"Things are getting interesting in late-night television," Letterman, who's been at his craggy best lately, told his audience over on CBS.
"You know what's going on, ladies and gentlemen? Chaos and craziness and mayhem...You know what this means—that's right, I knocked off another competitor."
"But listen to this," he added. "If Conan does leave The Tonight Show, President Obama then has to appoint a replacement."
Which makes sense if indeed al-Qaida has "claimed responsibility for the wreckage at NBC," as Letterman says.
"Feels nice to be vindicated, doesn't it?" guest Whoopi Goldberg asked Dave.
All that, and we didn't even mention NBC's upcoming 10 p.m. drama, Law & Order: Leno Victims Unit, starring O'Brien, Jimmy Fallon and Ice-T in the role of Carson Daly (whom Dave claims to have never seen in his life).
Jay Leno, meanwhile, hasn't addressed reports that he's going back to late night, preferring only to joke about being canceled after barely six months in prime-time.
"I have to tell you," he said tonight on the ill-conceived Jay Leno Show. "The folks here at NBC don't handle these things well. They don't have a lot of tact. Like, after they canceled the show, they told me if I put on 10 pounds I can get on The Biggest Loser. That didn't seem right."
Bets are being placed already as to who's going to end up being the biggest loser when all is said and done.
Remember how Dave spun another potentially damaging story into comedic gold?