The last two people anyone expected to be sitting on the same couch are David Letterman and Jay Leno, but the Super Bowl is a magical game. Sunday night the entire US almost choked to death on their pretzels and chicken wings when Letterman told Oprah that he was having the worst Super Bowl party ever and the camera panned to the left, where Jay Leno was sitting.
The NBC late night star, who’s image has recently been run through the comedic gutter over the shakedown with Conan O’Brien and will be back to fighting Letterman for ratings March 1, replied “That’s just because I’m here.” Letterman followed up with his signature Leno mock as a logo for Letterman’s show appeared at the bottom of the screen:
That may have been stunning, (fun fact: Jay Leno and David Letterman had reportedly not seen each other in 20 years) but it would have been even more crazy if Conan O’Brien had joined the talk show dream team. It turns out Conan had been asked, but his team was in the middle of wrapping up The Tonight Show and didn’t exactly jump at the chance. Oh, what might have been . . .
But the whole thing was short, succinct, and brilliant for everyone involved. It made Letterman seem more likable for making fun of his recent nightly Leno-mocking, and made Leno more likable for sitting on Letterman’s couch and actually helping him promote his show. After everything that went down this January, just about the only thing Leno could do to promote his own show without looking like an a$$ would be to exactly this. Oprah was also a sport for joining in, she got involved with the whole Late Night Battle ’10 when she interviewed Leno at the end of January. She was also making a playful nod to the famous “Super Bowl of Love” commercial she did with Letterman in 2007:
According to EW this ad was Dave’s idea, and it’s a smart way to promote his show, but it also indicates that maybe he still has a tad of affection for his old buddy Big Jaw. Maybe it was just a cynical marketing tactic. It was probably was a little of both.