The year is 2010. Almost 20 years after bungling their succession plan for Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, creating a new competitor in the process when David Letterman jumped to CBS, NBC is currently bungling a Tonight Show transition again. Seven months into the job, NBC has been forced to admit the plan to put Jay Leno at 10 p.m. was a disaster, and is now toying with some schedule-jiggling that will leave everyone unhappy: Leno at 11:35 for a half hour, Conan to 12:05, Fallon to 1:05. This is the proposal that would eventually cause Conan to put his foot down and force NBC to buy him out for more than $40 million before he shipped off for TBS. The whole thing was really a spectacular mess, especially at the time.
And no one was having more fun with it than Letterman, as evidenced by the videos in this YouTube played created by Matt Biesiada. Some highlights:
- Letterman’s Leno impression
- Letterman repeatedly getting Jimmy Fallon’s name wrong, once referring to him as “Lonny Donagan”
- The end of the third video, which sums things up for Dave pretty well
So, if you have a few minutes, break out that dusty old “I’m With CoCo” T-shirt and start clicking. There are worse ways to spend an afternoon.