What's one worse than a sucker punch? Oh, yeah. Good TV.
"I can't tell you how much I enjoyed your participation in the Jay Leno scandal," the Late Show host told his guest and fellow Leno-basher last night. "I've known Jay a long, long time and it just got to be fun. I mean, it just really got to be a lot of fun."
"It did," Kimmel agreed. "I would like to keep it going, but you...we had him, we were drowning him, and you threw a lifesaver out to him during the Super Bowl."
"No, I think we can still fire it up," Letterman replied. And then went on to do just that.
The topic of conversation quickly turned to Kimmel's full-episode impersonation of Leno, which provided the ill-fated inspiration (ill-fated for Leno, not Kimmel or the well-entertained viewers) for Kimmel's participation on that now infamous 10@10 segment on The Jay Leno Show.
"Well, you guys are friends, right?" Letterman asked by way of dismissing any lingering acrimony between the hosts.
"Oh, we're very close, yeah," Kimmel laughed. Sarcasm, folks. But back to that segment.
"He asked me 10 questions about nothing, and I asked him 10 questions about stealing Conan's job from him."
"What I loved about it, it was just, it was fun, it was funny, and nobody got hurt," Letterman said. "The only people that got hurt was NBC, they lost hundreds of millions of dollars. We don't care about NBC! I mean, Jay didn't get hurt, you didn't get hurt, Conan didn't get hurt, I didn't get hurt, it was just a lot of fun."
Hang on—nobody got hurt? Leave it to Kimmel to remind Letterman which team, exactly, he was supposed to be playing for.
"I think Conan might disagree."
As for whether or not the appearance constituted a sucker punch, Kimmel may have come around on that. Albeit only after consulting the proper reference books.
"He's always running to tattle to Oprah whenever something happens," Kimmel explained. "I didn't think I did sucker punch him, but then I looked it up in the dictionary and turns out, I did."
And we love him for it.
Conan may be legally prohibited from being funny on television, but on tour is a different matter.