"Welcome to The Tonight Show, or, as we call it, Survivor: Comcast," the host launched into Tuesday's monologue, obviously still smarting in the wake of budget cuts that left at least 20 staffers out of a job and prompted Leno himself to take a reported $5 million to $10 million paycut.
"NBC now stands for Nothing But Cutbacks, as you may have heard," he continued.
Leno cracked, "Let me give you an idea how bad the budget cuts have been: Tonight's monologue was written entirely by illegals."
"You know," he added, "it's not just us. They're cutting budgets all across NBC. Like this morning, on the Today show, Kathy Lee and Hoda were drinking Keystone Light. That's how bad it was," he quipped, making chugging gestures, "Knocking those back."
The cost-cutting action was followed today by more tough news for Leno and The Tonight Show (and, for that matter, David Letterman and the Late Show): Jimmy Kimmel Live will be further slicing into the veteran hosts' piece of the late-night pie with a move to 11:35 p.m. starting Jan. 8.
Leno did not joke about that.
(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)