Letterman says he'd like 'Tonight' job

September 03, 1991|By Newsday

"Would I like to have this show? I would."

That's how David Letterman, Johnny Carson's guest on last Friday's "Tonight Show," asked and answered the question about whether he would like to be the program's host.

The comment, made amid general merriment but still with an edge, broke Mr. Letterman's months-long public silence over reports that he was livid at being passed up by NBC when it chose Jay Leno to be Mr. Carson's permanent replacement after Mr. Carson retires.

To Mr. Carson, Mr. Letterman said, "From what I know about you, a guy can make a pretty good living doing this show."

Early in the interview, Mr. Letterman said, "I pick up my gentle humor watching" Mr. Carson, referring to a Carson quip that Mr. Letterman might attempt a coup.

What Mr. Carson had said was, "When we come back from commercial, if David Letterman is sitting at this desk and says he took over because I was too ill to go on, don't believe him."

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