“Folks, I got to be honest with you,” Leno said at the start of Wednesday’s edition of “Tonight.” “I had a really awkward day today. I had to call David Letterman and tell him he didn’t get ‘The Tonight Show’ again! Awful! Terrible!”
David Letterman made pretty much the same joke in his monologue, which surprised observed for its general warmth toward his longtime rival.
“I got a call from my mom today, she said ‘Well, David, I see you didn’t get ‘The Tonight Show’ again,” Letterman said.
“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,” Letterman said. “So congratulations to Jay, a job well done.”
Conan O’Brien, who had his own transition drama on “Tonight Show” in 2009-10, didn’t reference Leno but gave a shout-out to Fallon on his TBS latenighter.
“It’s a fun gig and you know what? Jimmy is the perfect guy to do it; he’s going to do a fantastic job. So congratulations Jimmy,” O’Brien said.
Jimmy Kimmel, whose move to the 11:35 slot helped spur the Fallon segue, was also gracious to his soon-t0-be competitor.
congratulations to my dear, sweet @jimmyfallon – a formidable rival and an incredible lover
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) April 3, 2013
Jimmy Fallon was quiet for most of the day on Twitter until sending this heartfelt message:
Today was one of the most exciting days of my life. I read every tweet and every post and I thank you.
— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) April 4, 2013
Other comics were also quick to weigh in on Twitter.
Jimmy Fallon takes over Tonight Show in Feb. Or tomorrow, if North Korea drops nuke on L.A.
— Albert Brooks (@AlbertBrooks) April 3, 2013