You know what’s great about the late-night hosts trading barbs on a daily basis: Listening to the sounds the in-studio audiences, now clearly on high alert, make. Jay Leno hit back at David Letterman Wednesday night with a joke that drew applause and “oohs” from his crowd (and a gasp in my living room). “Letterman’s been hammerin’ me every night. Oh, going after me,” he said. “Hey Kev, you know the best way to get Letterman to ignore you? Marry him. Okay, that’s the best way. He will not bother you. He won’t look you in the eye. No problem at all.” (In case you missed it, Jay kinda got served in his interview with James Cameron, which you can watch after the jump along with the latest Letterman clips. At 7 minutes left, the Avatar director mentions that he kept the ship’s wheel from Titanic because he knew what it was like to be the captain of a sinking ship. Leno says he could bring it to NBC. “It could go right over there,” Cameron says. Leno wasn’t as amused as I was.)
Letterman, meanwhile, kept the pressure on Leno in his monologue with multiple jabs. His crowd let out a tentative, nervous giggle when Dave asked if everyone was fascinated by the legal detail in contractual negotiations. Addressing NBC’s plan to keep Conan’s intellectual property, Letterman said, “He can’t take his signature comedy bits with him. But that’s okay, Jay will take them.” Then, he went for a cheap chin joke.