Conan O'Brien avoids Jay Leno's 'Tonight' fight

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Look who decided to turn the other cheek!

Conan O’Brien took the high road Monday on his TBS show Conan  — the late night host’s first day back from a week-long hiatus that occurred at the same times news broke about a new succession plan for The Tonight Show.

O’Brien, who replaced Jay Leno as host of Tonight for seven months until he was pushed aside in 2010, choose to joke about Passover and the Pope, not his former employer or the comedian who’s now about to lose his high-profile gig on NBC to Jimmy Fallon.

“Tonight is the beginning of the 8-day Jewish holiday of Passover  when God freed the Jews from slavery in Egypt,” according to an early transcript from O’Brien’s monologue. “In other words, History’s first Spring Break. Passover’s the time every year I’m forced to spend 8 days and 8 nights writing all my own jokes.

“Over the weekend, the current pope and the former pope had lunch together.  The waiter who served them said, they spent the whole time bitching about their boss.

“Officials say the winner of a $338 million Powerball ticket bought it at a New Jersey liquor store. It’s being called the first time in history the word ‘winner’ has described someone at a New Jersey liquor store.”

O’Brien’s best joke? Probably this one about Bill Gates, who is offering “$100,000 to anyone who can design a better condom. Of course, what guy wants to buy a condom from a company called “Microsoft.” O’Brien’s guest for the night were Magic Johnson, Thandie Newton and musical guest Langhorne Slim. His shows airs weeknights at 11 p.m. ET/PT.

Leno, in contrast, has relied on the ongoing bruhaha for nightly jokes on Tonight. On Friday, Leno said this in his monologue: “Have you heard about this alleged feud that I’m having with NBC? I think it’s going to be OK. This is real: I had dinner last night with a bunch of NBC executives. To make it up to me, what they did, they are sending my wife and I on an all expenses paid Carnival cruise. How about that? So it looks like it’s going to be OK. Fantastic!”

NBC has yet to officially confirm multiple reports that say Fallon will succeed Leno no later than fall of 2014, and that The Tonight Show will be relocated to New York.

For more:

NBC’s Jay Leno plan baffles insiders
Will ‘Tonight Show’ move to NY incite a booking war?

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