Jay Leno told Oprah Winfrey on Thursday that he felt "sucker-punched" by Jimmy Kimmel – and hours later, the ABC comedian came out swinging again.
"[Leno] went on Oprah and rats me out," Kimmel said during his Jimmy Kimmel Live! monologue Thursday night. "That's a sucker-punch right there. You don't go to Oprah and say that. He's a tattle-tale."
Kimmel added: "Oprah and I had a wonderful relationship, and now it's ruined because of Jay." (Click here to see Kimmel's monologue.)
Kimmel, of course, was kidding. But in his sharp five-minute monologue, the comedian defended his recent appearance on The Jay Leno Show in which he let loose about shakeups at NBC that ultimately led to Leno reclaiming his post as the host of The Tonight Show and ousting Conan O'Brien in the process.
Explaining that Leno's producers called him in advance to discuss the questions for the "10@10" segment, Kimmel says that he expected to be commenting on the late-night controversy, since it was newsy – and funny to him. Instead, Leno wanted to chat about other things like, Kimmel said, "What's your junk food weakness?"
"I figured I'd start in, he'd get into it and we'd mix it up," Kimmel said. "You know, at one time [Leno] was a comedian. But he didn't do that. He stood there and he just kind of read through the questions like a robot."
For his part, Leno told Winfrey that he was taken aback by Kimmel's remarks but ultimately decided not to edit them out of his show. "I said, 'No. Put it out there. I walked into it,' " Leno told her, explaining that when you get hit, "You get right up again. You don't whine and complain."
But at the end of his monologue Thursday night, Kimmel had the last laugh – for now. "Watch out Oprah," he said, "don't think he won't take your show next."