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Posted at 8:30 AM ET, 01/16/2010

CONAN vs. LENO: The Fave-Five Cartoons that catch our eye this minute...

By Michael Cavna

As Conan O'Brien reportedly nears a multimillion-dollar NBC payoff to vacate his "Tonight Show" set and hit the bricks, the broadcast brouhaha -- by next week -- might finally begin to die down.

Until then, the acid tongues are still wagging -- from Jay Leno's smirking at fellow comedy hosts who "hold a grudge" to Conan's quipping during Friday night's monologue: "In the press this week, NBC has been calling me every name in the book. In fact, they think I'm such an idiot, they now want me to run the network."

Speaking of: I've met and quizzed NBC honcho Jeffrey Zucker only once, but at the time -- several years ago -- Zucker couldn't have seemed to be more in the ascending Conan's corner. What a difference a few years, a seriously boneheaded Leno Experiment and an army of majorly chafed local-station managers (are those hot, fresh pitchforks behind their backs?) can make. If Zucker (aka "JZ") isn't humbled yet, he's got 99 problems and Conan won't be one of 'em -- and he's become a bigger punchline than even the late-night writers can craft or crank out.

Meantime, with so much arrogance, so much incompetence and so many easiliy caricatured features on parade here, the Leno-vs.-O'Brien(vs.-NBC) dust-up is just begging for some humorist to hit the satiric bull's-eye.

So, amid the actually important news of events in Haiti and Pakistan and Yemen and so many other dire hot-spots, we absolve those editorial cartoonists who want to take just a single day -- consider it a "paid vacation day," 'toonists -- and take aim at the big fat target that is the Great Late-Night Bickerfest. The Chin vs. the Pompadour. Two Massachusetts boys vying for the same very political seat, sniping and griping on the Left Coast. Ready! Aim! Satire!

Here are five cartoons that caught Comic Riffs's eye. If you've got a link to a Leno/Conan cartoon you like, then by all means: Fire away.

conan-heller.jpg Joe Heller / The Green Bay Press-Gazette /

conan-ariail.gif Robert Ariail / The State (S.C.) /

conan-priggee.jpg Milt Priggee / Seattle /

conan-beeler.jpg Nate Beeler / The Washington Examiner /

conan-cam.jpg Cameron "Cam" Cardow / Canada /

By Michael Cavna  | January 16, 2010; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  The Political Cartoon  | Tags:  Conan O'Brien, Jay Leno  
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