Pop Culture

Great to see old friend, Leno says of Letterman

The Jay Leno/Oprah Winfrey/David Letterman promo for the “Late Show” was hailed as one of the more memorable spots from Super Bowl Sunday.

And as far as Leno is concerned, he was just happy to be a part of it.

“It was great fun,” Leno told “The Jay Leno Show” audience on Monday night. “I want to thank Dave for making me a part of his promo. I was glad to promote his show. Dave, thank you very much. I appreciate it.”

As previously reported on AccessHollywood.com, the commercial was Letterman’s idea. And once it was presented to Leno, he jumped at the chance to do it.

“I thought it was great. Because no matter what animosity there is among comedians — a good joke is a good joke,” Leno said.

So what happened when the two former-and-soon-to-be-again late night competitors saw each other at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York, where the spot was taped? According to Leno, all their past problems vanished.

  • Slideshow Photos

    Justin Lubin / Episodic

    Image: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

    Jay Leno, ‘Tonight’ and beyond

    A look at Jay Leno’s comedic career, including his work as “Tonight Show” host and philanthropy.

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    Jay Leno, ‘Tonight’ and beyond

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    Happy to be back -

    Jay Leno basks in the glow as he returns to "The Tonight Show" at the NBC studio in Burbank, Calif., on Monday, March 1. "It's good to be home,” he said as he began his monologue. "I’m Jay Leno, your host. At least, for a while."

    NBC / NBC
  • Image:  Lindsey Vonn during an interview with host Jay Leno on March 1, 2010

    Jay Leno, ‘Tonight’ and beyond

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    Golden girl -

    Olympic gold medal winning skier Lindsey Vonn chats with Leno during his first night back on "The Tonight Show" on Monday, March 1. "Did you see her?" Leno marveled. "When it comes to going downhill, nobody is faster. OK, except NBC."

    NBC / NBC
  • Image: Jay Leno Show

    Jay Leno, ‘Tonight’ and beyond

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    10 spot -

    Leno tapes the inaugural episode of NBC's "The Jay Leno Show" in Burbank, Calif., on Sept. 14, 2009.The host broke new ground on broadcast television with the launch of the show at 10 p.m. -- a timeslot normally reserved for scripted programming. The show, however, failed to attract viewers and NBC pulled the plug on its "Leno experiment" on Jan. 11, 2010.

    NBC via Getty Images / NBC via Getty Images
  • Conan O'Brien, who inherited the "Tonight Show" desk from Leno, was Leno's final guest on Friday, May 29, 2009. Leno told him he was the perfect choice as a replacement.

    Jay Leno, ‘Tonight’ and beyond

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    The torch is passed -

    Conan O'Brien, who inherited the "Tonight Show" desk from Leno, was Leno's final guest on Friday, May 29, 2009. Leno told him he was the perfect choice as a replacement.

    NBC via AP / NBC via AP
  • Jay Leno performs his stand-up act during a Middlesex Community College Celebrity Forum event at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium in Lowell, Mass., in 2008. Despite his "Tonight" commitment, Leno continues to do stand-up around the country.

    Jay Leno, ‘Tonight’ and beyond

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    Still doing stand-up -

    Jay Leno performs his stand-up act during a Middlesex Community College Celebrity Forum event at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium in Lowell, Mass., in 2008. Despite his "Tonight" commitment, Leno continues to do stand-up around the country.

    AP / AP
  • Leno and wife Mavis pose during the cocktail reception at the 30th anniversary Carousel of Hope Ball to benefit the Barbara Davis center for childhood diabetes on Oct. 25, 2008, in Beverly Hills, Calif. The couple married in 1980.

    Jay Leno, ‘Tonight’ and beyond

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    An evening out with the missus -

    Leno and wife Mavis pose during the cocktail reception at the 30th anniversary Carousel of Hope Ball to benefit the Barbara Davis center for childhood diabetes on Oct. 25, 2008, in Beverly Hills, Calif. The couple married in 1980.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Sen. John McCain appeared on "The Tonight Show" on Nov. 11, 2008. It was McCain's first public appearance since losing the presidential election to Barack Obama on Nov. 4.

    Jay Leno, ‘Tonight’ and beyond

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    Post-election chat -

    Sen. John McCain appeared on "The Tonight Show" on Nov. 11, 2008. It was McCain's first public appearance since losing the presidential election to Barack Obama on Nov. 4.

    NBC via Getty Images / NBC via Getty Images
  • Leno films an installment of his popular Jay Walking segment for "The Tonight Show." In the segment, he picks random strangers on the street and asks them questions about history and current events to often very funny results.

    Jay Leno, ‘Tonight’ and beyond

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    Jay Walking -

    Leno films an installment of his popular Jay Walking segment for "The Tonight Show." In the segment, he picks random strangers on the street and asks them questions about history and current events to often very funny results.

    Splash News / Splash News
  • Chris Rock appeared on "The Tonight Show" on Sept. 9, 2005, to sign a Harley-Davidson motorcycle that Leno was using to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The motorcycle, which was auctioned on eBay, sold for $1.5 million.

    Jay Leno, ‘Tonight’ and beyond

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    Show him the money -

    Chris Rock appeared on "The Tonight Show" on Sept. 9, 2005, to sign a Harley-Davidson motorcycle that Leno was using to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The motorcycle, which was auctioned on eBay, sold for $1.5 million.

    NBC via Getty Images / NBC via Getty Images
  • Leno leaves the Santa Barbara County Courthouse in Santa Maria, Calif., on May 24, 2005, after serving as a defense witness in Michael Jackson's child molestation trial. As part of a gag order issued during the trial, Leno was barred from making jokes about the singer in his "Tonight" monologues. After NBC challenged the order, the judge amended it, allowing the host to joke about Jackson as long as the jokes didn't relate to his testimony.

    Jay Leno, ‘Tonight’ and beyond

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    For the defense -

    Leno leaves the Santa Barbara County Courthouse in Santa Maria, Calif., on May 24, 2005, after serving as a defense witness in Michael Jackson's child molestation trial. As part of a gag order issued during the trial, Leno was barred from making jokes about the singer in his "Tonight" monologues. After NBC challenged the order, the judge amended it, allowing the host to joke about Jackson as long as the jokes didn't relate to his testimony.

    Pool via Getty Images / Pool via Getty Images
  • Oprah Winfrey came to Burbank to help Leno celebrate the 50th anniversary of "The Tonight Show" with a cake commemorating its hosts from past and present.

    Jay Leno, ‘Tonight’ and beyond

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    Happy anniversary -

    Oprah Winfrey came to Burbank to help Leno celebrate the 50th anniversary of "The Tonight Show" with a cake commemorating its hosts from past and present.

    NBC via Getty Images / NBC via Getty Images
  • In 2004, it was announced that Conan O'Brien, left, would succeed Leno as host of "The Tonight Show." Leno's last show as "Tonight" host was May 29, 2009.

    Jay Leno, ‘Tonight’ and beyond

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    This 'Tonight' successor -

    In 2004, it was announced that Conan O'Brien, left, would succeed Leno as host of "The Tonight Show." Leno's last show as "Tonight" host was May 29, 2009.

    WireImage / WireImage
  • Leno introduced Arnold Schwarzenegger at his victory celebration at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles after the actor was elected governor of California in a special recall election on Oct. 7, 2003. Schwarzenegger had announced his candidacy on "The Tonight Show."

    Jay Leno, ‘Tonight’ and beyond

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    A mind for politics -

    Leno introduced Arnold Schwarzenegger at his victory celebration at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles after the actor was elected governor of California in a special recall election on Oct. 7, 2003. Schwarzenegger had announced his candidacy on "The Tonight Show."

    Corbis / Corbis
  • Jay Leno served as Grand Marshal at "Love Ride 19" on Nov. 10, 2002, in Glendale, Calif. The event benefited Reading By 9 and other charities.

    Jay Leno, ‘Tonight’ and beyond

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    A pause for the cause -

    Jay Leno served as Grand Marshal at "Love Ride 19" on Nov. 10, 2002, in Glendale, Calif. The event benefited Reading By 9 and other charities.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Hugh Grant appeared on at "The Tonight Show" shortly after being arrested for soliciting Hollywood prostitute Divine Brown in 1995. Leno famously asked the actor, "What were you thinking?"

    Jay Leno, ‘Tonight’ and beyond

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    'What were you thinking?' -

    Hugh Grant appeared on at "The Tonight Show" shortly after being arrested for soliciting Hollywood prostitute Divine Brown in 1995. Leno famously asked the actor, "What were you thinking?"

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Leno spoke to the audience in lieu of his regular monologue during the taping of "The Tonight Show" on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2001. This was the first show to be telecast after the Sept. 11 attacks.

    Jay Leno, ‘Tonight’ and beyond

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    A time to laugh -

    Leno spoke to the audience in lieu of his regular monologue during the taping of "The Tonight Show" on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2001. This was the first show to be telecast after the Sept. 11 attacks.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • Leno, center and singer Elton John, left, looked on while then-New York Giants defensive back Jason Sehorn surprises his girlfriend, actress Angie Harmon, with a marriage proposal during the taping of "The Tonight Show" on Monday, March 13, 2000. Her answer was "Yes."

    Jay Leno, ‘Tonight’ and beyond

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    An 'ahhh' moment -

    Leno, center and singer Elton John, left, looked on while then-New York Giants defensive back Jason Sehorn surprises his girlfriend, actress Angie Harmon, with a marriage proposal during the taping of "The Tonight Show" on Monday, March 13, 2000. Her answer was "Yes."

    NBC via AP / NBC via AP
  • Jazz great Branford Marsalis, right, served as musical director during Leno's first three years as "Tonight" host. Marsalis left the show in 1995.

    Jay Leno, ‘Tonight’ and beyond

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    Horning in -

    Jazz great Branford Marsalis, right, served as musical director during Leno's first three years as "Tonight" host. Marsalis left the show in 1995.

    NBC / NBC
  • Leno poses with one of his many motocycles. An avid collector, he auctioned off a Harley-Davidson autographed by celebrity "Tonight Show" guests in 2001 to help victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.

    Jay Leno, ‘Tonight’ and beyond

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    Hog heaven -

    Leno poses with one of his many motocycles. An avid collector, he auctioned off a Harley-Davidson autographed by celebrity "Tonight Show" guests in 2001 to help victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Leno made a guest appearance as a biker on the TV series "Alice," playing alongside Vic Tayback, right, and Linda Lavin. Leno has a passion for motorcycles in real life, and a large collection to show for it.

    Jay Leno, ‘Tonight’ and beyond

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    Bringing his passion to the small screen -

    Leno made a guest appearance as a biker on the TV series "Alice," playing alongside Vic Tayback, right, and Linda Lavin. Leno has a passion for motorcycles in real life, and a large collection to show for it.

    CBS via Getty Images / CBS via Getty Images
  • Leno made a guest appearance on "Laverne and Shirley" in 1979, working alongside series stars Cindy Williams, left, and Penny Marshall.

    Jay Leno, ‘Tonight’ and beyond

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    Jay Leno -- actor -

    Leno made a guest appearance on "Laverne and Shirley" in 1979, working alongside series stars Cindy Williams, left, and Penny Marshall.

    Everett Collection / Everett Collection
  • Jay Leno made his first "Tonight Show" appearance in 1977, joining host Johnny Carson, right, and Ed McMahon, left, on the couch. Leno would become Carson's regular substitute host in 1987 before taking the helm of the show in 1992.

    Jay Leno, ‘Tonight’ and beyond

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    A taste of his future -

    Jay Leno made his first "Tonight Show" appearance in 1977, joining host Johnny Carson, right, and Ed McMahon, left, on the couch. Leno would become Carson's regular substitute host in 1987 before taking the helm of the show in 1992.

    NBC via Everett Collection / NBC via Everett Collection

“I walk in and I see Dave. He puts his hand out and we shake hands. And you know, whatever happened the last 18 years disappeared,” Leno continued. “It was great to see my old friend again. It was wonderful… We talked about the old days. We told some jokes. It was really good to see him.”

However, the top secret project, which was kept under wraps from both Letterman and Leno’s employees, caught the eye of one NBC executive when Leno returned from his undercover excursion.

“The next day [after I returned], an NBC executive comes to me and says, ‘Jay, we have a problem. Last night, I got word David Letterman shot some kind of secret show. We know a black SUV pulled up. There was security and a hooded figure came in the side of the building,’” Leno recounted to his audience.

“Who do you think it was?” Leno asked the exec, keeping the charade going.

“We think it was President Obama,” the exec told Leno, drawing a laugh from the host and the crowd as he shared the story.

“OK, keep me posted!” Leno continued to play along.

But now that the secret is out, do Leno and Letterman have any further plans to collaborate in the future?

“The commercial went so well, Dave and I have decided to go to Vancouver and compete in the two-man luge,” Leno joked.

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