Late night hosts integrated the news into their Monday routines, with mixed success
Americans can't really absorb any big news until the talk show hosts have had their say. The website Videogum, however, couldn't wait until last night to hear how Leno, Letterman, Conan, and company would react to Osama bin Laden's death. Yesterday afternoon the site ran a list of possible jokes Jay Leno would make about bin Laden during his opening monologue. Those jokes, predictably, were not kind to the Tonight Show host, with lines like "Osama bin Laden was buried at sea. Now America faces a new enemy—angry fish!" The actual Leno monologue wasn't much better, though—it started with a joke about President Obama having a new campaign slogan: "Yes, I can!"
Letterman's opening line was sharper. He asked his understandably pumped New York crowd if they enjoyed the "Osama bin Laden season finale." A moment later, Dave joked that a clerical error led to the terrorist mistakenly being sent to an afterlife with 72 vegans, and a Top Ten List of possibilities for Osama's last words included the gem: "I need a house full of Navy Seals like I need a hole in the head."
Comparing Letterman to Leno, though, is like comparing Jeopardy! to Wheel of Fortune—an analogy especially evident in last night's guest lists. Dave bumped his announced guest, Tracy Morgan, in favor having NBC News anchor Brian Williams talk about the day's big event. On NBC itself, meanwhile, Leno's was chatting as scheduled with Paul Walker, star of Furious Five. Ew.