A contrite and visibly shaken Kanye West spoke to Jay Leno for the debut of the comedian’s primetime show Monday. During the pretaped hour that will air later this evening, West – dressed in all black – expressed regret for interrupting Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday and said what so many viewers have been feeling in the last 24 hours: “it was rude.”

West’s appearance on Leno’s premiere was booked weeks ago, but the affable host opened the second half of his show by saying it was West who asked to say a few words (Leno began his opening monologue with a softball joke about West and Swift sharing a root beer with President Obama in the White House but otherwise stuck with mostly stale jokes about the cash for clunkers program and former President Bush). The rapper began his impromptu reviews by saying it was “extremely difficult to deal with the fact that I hurt someone and took something away from a talented artist.” Then, in a particularly somber moment, Leno asked what West’s deceased mother would think about what he said to Swift. Suddenly, the normally outspoken rapper couldn’t speak – but his silence spoke volumes, so much that Leno attempted to break the uncomfortable pause by resting his hand on West’s knee. After about 15 seconds, West mumbled, “Anything I can do to help Taylor,” before announcing that he’ll take some time off to reevaluate his career. West then got up to perform with Rihanna and Jay-Z.

A tuxedo clad Jerry Seinfeld was Leno’s first guest while Oprah Winfrey spoke to the duo via satellite.