Letterman Relives Late Night Wars With Kimmel

by | March 17, 2010 at 9:04 AM | Late Night, TV News

Jimmy Kimmel and David Letterman on 'The Late Show' (CBS)

Jimmy Kimmel and David Letterman on 'The Late Show' (CBS)

David Letterman did his best to rekindle the late night wars on CBS’ ‘The Late Show with David Letterman‘ Tuesday night.

It didn’t necessarily work, although it did give viewers more of a look into the exclusive world of late-night talk show hosts, as Dave was joined by fellow late-night host and guest Jimmy Kimmel.

Kimmel, from rival network ABC’s ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live,’ started their talk by describing his time visiting Snoop Dogg, who appeared on the show to deliver the “Top Ten Things that Sound Cool When Said By Snoop.”

Of course, Kimmel’s anecdote included vague references to pot smoking and the munchies.

It was moderately clever, but the action really heated up when Letterman brought up the infamous battle between NBC stars Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien.

Watch Snoop Dogg Deliver the Top Ten List:


In what’s now become a historic chapter in TV history, Leno successfully reclaimed the mantle at ‘The Tonight Show,’ a scandal that provided other late-night hosts with plenty of ammunition to take on Leno.

Said Letterman, “I enjoyed your participation in the Jay Leno scandal.” Kimmel insisted he enjoyed it all, saying, “We were drowning Jay, but then you had to throw him a life preserver during the Super Bowl,” a reference to the commercial in which Letterman, Leno and Oprah all appeared.

He was particularly impressed that Kimmel performed an entire episode of his show dressed as Jay Leno himself. Though one may assume Leno would have been upset, Kimmel told Letterman that Jay had called the next day to compliment his imitation. Kimmel enjoyed it as well, joking, “It’s fun being Jay. It’s easier.”

Watch Jimmy and Dave Get into a Little Jay-Bashing:


After that, of course, Leno asked Kimmel to come on to his short-lived ‘The Jay Leno Show,’ where he had Kimmel appear in the 10 @ 10 segment, in which guests are asked 10 questions. It didn’t necessarily end well, with Kimmel taking lots of shots against Leno about him “stealing” O’Brien’s time slot. Kimmel joked with Letterman, “I asked him 10 questions about stealing Conan’s show.” Leno didn’t think it was funny, and later told Oprah that he felt he had been sucker-punched by Kimmel, who mused, “He’s always running to tattle to Oprah.”

Letterman laughed and contended that no one was hurt in the dust-up, except NBC, which lost millions over the scheduling snafu. Kimmel reminded Letterman that Conan O’Brien would likely disagree with his assertion. The men both agreed that it was fun while it lasted, and they would miss the golden opportunities the scandal afforded their opening monologues.

The interview likely didn’t revive the late-night wars, but it did provide a look into the exclusive, tight-knit community of late-night talk show hosts. The men (Chelsea Handler, the only female late night host, remains an outsider) are something of an exclusive club that, though competitive, seem tight-knit. And, more importantly, welcome friendly derision.

No amount of network rivalry will change the good humor inherent in the late-night community.