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Leno: I’m Staying on the Titanic

The short goodbye begins for “The Jay Leno Show”

Jay Leno on Thursday made just a brief mention of his pending return to "The Tonight Show," telling the audience for his 10 p.m. show that he’s chosen to stay with NBC — or, as put it, the Titanic.

"As many of you know, Conan is leaving the network. His final show airs tomorrow night," Leno said. "I have chosen to stay on the Titanic. I don’t believe the iceberg is that big…  this ship will never sink.  Kev…when it does, Kev as it’s sinking you will play us (off)?  Apparently we’ll be back on ‘The Tonight Show’ March 1 after the Olympics. So that’s pretty much where we are."

Leno brought up the transition at the end of his monologue. Earlier, joking about L.A.’s rainy weather, he noted that the weather outside was almost as gloomy as that inside NBC.

Also once again mocking NBC’s woes: Former employee David Letterman. His collection of jabs for Thursday:

– “Hey, weather – is the weather wacky where you folks live? Oh, listen to this: Four days of rain in Los Angeles, and there’s been a lot of flooding and it’s such a mess and when it floods like that, they get the mudslides and the only good thing about the mudslides, the mudslides put out the wildfires. But it’s continuing to rain, and it’s been such a problem in Southern California, in Los Angeles in particular, that earlier Jay Leno held a press conference to announce that it wasn’t his fault.”

– “And now there are rumors that President Obama may be paid to leave office and Bush will get his old job back.”

– “Tomorrow, by the way, TV news – Conan O’Brien’s last show, tomorrow night. Conan O’Brien’s last show, yep – was there a problem?”

– “As a result of this whole mess, people are beating up on Jay Leno, and I’ve beaten him up – and telling jokes about him and saying things about him and attacking him and going after him, and then people say, ‘What would you do that – “ And, well, I’ll tell you, it’s fun.”

– “But don’t worry about Conan – Conan is leaving the show, but he’s taking with him $45 million. Forty-five million dollars – he had the gig for seven months, he’s leaving with $45 million. I’m telling you, it’s like a Larry King divorce, if you think about it.”

– “And as part of the settlement with Conan O’Brien, Conan will not be allowed to badmouth NBC. Ah, don’t worry, leave it to me. I’ll take care of that.”

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