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Posted at 10:01 AM ET, 01/21/2010

As Conan walks, here's the proof: Leno is a back-stabber [updated]

By Michael Cavna

With Conan O'Brien having finalized his $45 million buyout with NBC on Thursday morning, this telling video clip has been rediscovered not a moment too soon.

We speak, of course, of Exhibit "A" (as in "Aghast"): Concrete evidence in Team Coco's case that NBC late-night colleague-turned-rival Jay Leno has a history of professionally stabbing enemies in the back. Or, in this case, the lower neck (smack dab 'tween the sixth and seventh vertebrae, it would appear. Any Leno media critics attending the White House Correspondents Dinner in May better watch their back).

O, how insightful the Fox comedy "Family Guy" potentially was four years ago this month in their football-themed episode titled "Patriot Games." During the episode in question, Leno -- voicing himself in a coupla quickie scenes (clever ruse, that) -- tries to rub out quarterback Tom Brady by nailing him with a blind-side knife.

Which raises the suspicion: If Leno can so handily take out one 6-foot-4 rival New Englander, well, what's to keep him from felling another one with a shiv to the spine?

Is this network TV's animated equivalent of the Zapruder film? Well, we submit this clip to the jury, so you can see for yourself...


Well? Well? Was that not a telling peek into the Machiavellian machinations of Leno the Great Denimed One? Are you not yet convinced? No? Okay, fine-fine -- then next we give you Exhibit "B" (as in "Battle Royal"): Here's an animated clip that we first spotted Tuesday, courtesy of Hong Kong-based NMA News (from the same good folks who "staged" a CGI re-enactment of a Tiger Woods/Elin Nordegren scenario in which adultery became, shall we say, a "wedge" issue).

In this footage, you can decide for yourself who fights dirtiest. (You might also note the amusing pronunciation of NBC honcho Jeff Zucker's surname as "Zoo-ker." The man apparently garners even less respect in Hong Kong.) Annnnd roll tape...


Hmm, perhaps that clip actually reveals that all three shirt-ripping parties bear some of the blame for the network's not-hot mess -- especially Jeffrey Zoo-ker. You have a point there. (You also have a point if you said Conan the barbaric makes for one funny Hulk.)

Allrighty then -- then check out Exhibit "C" (as in "Cartman"): In this mothballed clip that aired on NBC's "The Tonight Show," the "South Park" kids actually accuse Leno -- more precisely, Leno's chin -- of killing Kenny. (Again, Leno voices himself -- the man is a cover-up master.) Annnnd roll it...

(note: "South Park's" standard salty language was bleeped or clipped for this clip)

Proof-positive, right? Well, in the interest of fair-and-balanced animation, let's show Leno being the stand-up guy that he really is. (Call it Exhibit "D": As in, "D'oh!") Here, Leno guest-cameos on "The Simpsons" -- the very show on which Conan used to be a writer. Oh, Jay -- as far as camping-it-up in the enemy camp goes, you are good...


And speaking of former friends who were "disappeared," whatever happened to Leno's first bandleader, Branford Marsalis? Perhaps this clip (we'll dub it Exhibit "E" -- as in: "get me Eubanks!") can shed some light on when it all went south. (Note: That is not Leno voicing himself, obviously, but rather a budding writer for "The Critic" named Judd Apatow. Hmm--whatever happened to him?...)


Both Leno and Conan have appeared in countless crude animations, of course -- from "Conan O'Brien & Jay Leno in Space" to the JibJab "Olympic" clip that superimposes their faces onto skaters. (And Leno has long voiced the kiddie cartoon "Fairy Oddparents" -- as the Crimson Chin. And Conan was "Brent Spiner" in the "South Park" feature film. And was on "Dr. Katz." And "Futurama." The list seems as long as Johnny Carson's coattails...)

But there's one last Conan cartoon that joyfully flaunts its silly pointlessness. So we salute "Potatoes O'Brien" -- because it is just as silly and pointless as so much of the Great Late-Night Bickerfest of 2010. Plus, these "eyes" clearly have better vision than Jeff "Zoo-ker":


By Michael Cavna  | January 21, 2010; 10:01 AM ET
Categories:  The Animation, The Holly Word  | Tags:  Conan O'Brien, Jay Leno  
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