David Letterman Talks Jay Leno's Tonight Show Retirement: "Something's Wrong Here"

Letterman also dedicated Top 10 list to his longtime rival on Wednesday night's episode of CBS' The Late Show

By Tierney Bricker Apr 04, 2013 1:09 AMTags
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Though it's been long-rumored, Jay Leno's announcement that he's retiring from The Tonight Show and will be replaced by Jimmy Fallon surprised at least one late-night host.

David Letterman, who famously lost out on The Tonight Show gig to Jay before becoming Leno's main competitor as the host of The Late Show on CBS, is set to address Leno's retirement during Wednesday night's show.

CBS released a transcript from Wednesday night's episode of The Late Show in which Letterman expresses his surprise over the news, saying, "Now earlier today, NBC announced that Jimmy Fallon will take over for Jay Leno as host of the Tonight Show in February of 2014. This is...something's wrong here."

He continued, "This happened once before with Conan O'Brien, and then they had to bring Jay back, and so he had to start his show all over again, and now it looks like the same thing is happening.  And I just–I don't get this."

Letterman then explained that he's known Leno for 38 years and congratulates his fellow late-night host. "He's retiring, so it says, and good for him. I've known him 38 years. I've known Jay Leno for 38 years...so now he's out again, but going out on top," he says. "So congratulations to Jay, a job well done."

But Letterman wasn't finished.

"It seems like we just went through this. Didn't we just go through this? Jay Leno now is being replaced, and this is the second time this has happened," he says. "I mean, it's crazy. He's being replaced by a younger late-night talk show host—what could possibly go wrong?"

At least "younger late night talk show host" Fallon has ABC rival Jimmy Kimmel in his corner. "congratulations to my dear, sweet @jimmyfallon- a formidable rival and an incredible lover," he posted on his Twitter page.

The show's Top 10 list will be dedicated to Leno and CBS has released three items:

No. 5: If you broke down on the freeway, Jay was always right there with a camera crew to help.

No. 4. Can't remember the name of the bit, but it's the one where Jay is walking.

No 3. He's mom's favorite talk show host.