Jay Leno took back The Tonight Show from Conan O’Brien on Monday night, saying, “It’s good to be home.” Ha-ha-ha, oh, oh, I get it: Conan was a bully who kicked poor Jay out of his own house and stayed on as a squatter until the police (i.e., NBC) gave Jay back his property! Justice prevails!
“I’m a little nervous,” said Leno. “I know Dave and Oprah are watching.”
Meanwhile, over on The Late Show: “My name is David Letterman, same time, same host,” said Dave. “It’s a tough night for my mom; she doesnt know who to watch, Jimmy Kimmel or Jay.”
Leno preceded his monologue with a taped bit in which he was Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (Betty White put in a cameo appearance). The idea was that Jay was waking up from a dream after being gone to a place that was “not so nice.”
He also built a segment around finding a new desk. (He’s doing The Tonight Show from the studio where he once did the revolutionary 10 p.m. phenomenon, The Jay Leno Show, not from the gazillion-dollar studio NBC constructed for that interloper Conan.)
First guest Jamie Foxx sprayed the audience with champagne and led the crowd in a cheer: “When I say ‘welcome,’ you say, ‘back’ — Jay Leno!” “Get up! Do the wave!” he yelled. The audience obliged him.
The best moments of the hour belonged to Lindsey Vonn. Leno conducted a solid interview with the Olympic athlete, who came out carrying a couple of her medals. Vonn was completely charming.
Over on Letterman, Bill Murray was pretty great, coming out on crutches and elevating his leg into a sling, moaning about having had an operation for a torn meniscus. (Hey, had one of those myself.) Dave asked Murray about the possibility of a Ghostbusters 3. “This is my nightmare,” said Murray. “I told them if they killed me off in the first reel, I’d do it.”
Did you watch Leno? Letterman?