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Conan was asked to be in Super Bowl ad with Leno and Letterman, and Leno bombs at White House Correspondents dinner

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1. I didn’t think it was possible to come up with a worse comedic performance than Rich Little’s, at George Bush’s 2007 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, but last night Jay Leno managed to be not merely less funny, but also seemed uncharacteristically irritated. He rushed through one tepid joke after another. When many were met with only mild laughs, Leno resorted to that oldest of comedian complaints — he actually said, “Ooh, this is a tough room.” No, tough was sitting through jokes about Betty White being as old as Abraham Lincoln:

2. Few media outlets and Team Coco seem to have picked up on a choice bit of trivia David Letterman dropped on Friday’s Live with Regis and Kelly. Letterman, prodded by Regis Philbin to rehash “the late night wars” once again, brought up the Super Bowl commercial in which he, Leno, and Oprah Winfrey squabbled on a sofa. Dave, who was amusing while joshing with Regis and Kelly Ripa, dropped the kidding for a moment and gave us a glimpse into how mini-events like this come together.

Letterman said that originally, his idea had been to have Conan join him and Jay on that sofa. But Conan declined. The quotes re. Conan occur about nine minutes into this clip:

I suppose the insults O’Brien had endured by NBC and, by extension, Leno, were too fresh in his mind to permit him to share furniture-space with Leno, but really, where were the man’s comedic instincts? Think of how much more amusing/squirmy/talked-about this spot would have been with Conan in the middle.

3. Conan on 60 Minutes tonight. Having seen the same clips you have, I understand the misgivings my colleague Kate Ward has about Conan coming off as a victim tonight. But two observations in advance: His beard really works in the 60 Minutes context, and wouldn’t it have been more typically Conan if, instead of being interviewed by a 60 Minutes correspondent, he’d asked to take over Andy Rooney’s spot for the final minute (“You know what I hate? I hate it when a guy gives you his show and then tries to take it back… “)?

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For more: Conan on ’60 Minutes’: Will too much NBC-Leno talk turn him into a victim

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