So what was the joke?
During the opening monologue for “Conan,” O’Brien talked about NBC airing the Olympics for the next couple of weeks. He pointed out that this was huge and exciting for NBC. Why?
“NBC will finally get to show somebody who’s OK with passing the torch.”
Following a sly thumbs-up, O’Brien ended the short bit with, “I allowed myself one. But it was a good one!”
In case you were living under a rock a few years ago, Leno left “The Tonight Show” once before and passed the late-night show onto O’Brien. It didn’t last — after one season, O’Brien was out and Leno got his old job back.
There have been plenty of jokes about Leno making this departure stick. But O’Brien — rightly — gets the best one.