O’Brien and Letterman have both had their dustups with “The Tonight Show” star, and they pulled no punches in ripping Leno apart.
After sitting in awkward silence for nearly 30 seconds, Letterman began the interview with his trademark acidic wit: "I think the longer we sit here, the more uncomfortable it'll make Jay.”
O’Brien agreed, saying, “You know Jay's watching right now … he's getting a live feed in a satellite truck right now." The two hosts also did impersonations of Leno in a high-pitched voice, with Letterman calling him “a bit of a brat.”
In 2009, O’Brien was given what he once considered his dream job -- hosting “The Tonight Show” -- after Leno stepped down. After only seven months, however, O’Brien was forced out after refusing to push the show back later to make room for Leno’s pet project, “The Jay Leno Show.” Leno stepped back in as host of “The Tonight Show,” where he remains to this day.
Thus began a bitter rivalry and simmering resentments that clearly have not dissipated over time. Letterman, for his part, seemed to take delight in their mutual disdain, saying he enjoyed the 2009 hosting debacle with O'Brien because the public finally saw Leno for what he was.
"When this came along, I said to myself, 'This is the Jay I know,'" Letterman recalled on Thursday. "I refer to that period as the Golden Age of Television."