On tonight’s edition of “The Jay Leno Show,” Leno described the events that led to his appearance in that much-talked-about “Late Show with David Letterman” Super Bowl promo, along side Letterman and Oprah Winfrey:
Now I want to tell you the story about this commercial, how this all came to be.
I’m sitting in my office and Rob Burnett, Dave’s producer calls my producer Debbie and says, ‘Hey, Dave has an idea for a Super Bowl commercial.’
Well, all right, and then he tells me the idea and this is Dave’s idea and I thought, that’s great. ‘Cause you know no matter what animosity there is among comedians a good joke is a good joke.
I thought you know it just makes it all go away. So they said we have to do this in complete secrecy, so I fly to New York. I tell my staff we have to do some personal business or something.
I have a mustache, I have all these disguises on and I get to New York and I have this mustache and all this stuff and I pull up in front of Dave’s studio we’re in a black SUV all this security we sneak in.
Even Dave’s staff, nobody knows anything about this. We shoot the commercial.
Well, I walk in and I see Dave, he puts his hand out and I shake his hand out and I shake hands and you know whatever happens for the last 18-years disappeared. It was great to see my old friend again.
It was wonderful. He was very gracious. We talked about the old days and we told some jokes and it was really good to see him.
So we shoot the commercial with Oprah and everything and then I put my disguise on and we sneak back and I come back here nobody knows.
Next day NBC executive comes to me, ‘Jay we have a problem.’ I said what is it?
‘Last night I got word that Dave Letterman shot some kind of secret show.’
I said what?
‘Well, what happened was we know a black SUV pulled up, there was security a hooded figure came in the side of the building, there was massive security.’
Well who do you think it was?
‘We think it was President Obama.’
I said President Obama did a commercial for Dave?
‘We think that’s what it is, ya.’
I said okay well keep me posted!
Every day last week I’d call ‘em – Anymore news? Anymore news? So, it was great fun. They got a bit of a surprise when they saw it as well.
But I just want to thank Dave for making me a part of his promo, glad to promote his show when I did this show in the ‘80’s I promoted it every night of the week. It was fun to do it again. So Dave, thank you very much I appreciate it.
Not sure about that NBC executive anecdote at the end — NBC’s Jeff Zucker and Jeff Gaspin signed off on the promo and Leno flew the NBC jet to New York, so it wasn’t exactly a surprise to top Peacock brass.