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David Letterman calls Jay Leno 'a bit of a knockwurst'

April 30, 2010 |  1:37 pm

David Letterman had some kind words Friday for his late-night rival, Jay Leno.

He said Leno was the accomplished comedian that he and others looked up to when they were all struggling comics in Los Angeles during the 1970s. And he also gave Leno "a lot of credit" for participating in this year's highly hailed Super Bowl commercial with him and Oprah Winfrey.

But Letterman couldn't resist taking more than a few shots at Leno during his appearance on "Live with Regis and Kelly": "He's a bit of a knockwurst."

Letterman, who rarely gives interviews or appears on shows other than his nightly CBS talkfest, fired the barb in a wide-ranging chat with Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa on the syndicated morning show, discussing the recent "Tonight Show" fracas between Leno and Conan O'Brien, and his own recent troubles following his admission that he had sex with several staff members.

Letterman said he found the behind-the-scenes brouhaha that erupted between Leno and O'Brien "highly entertaining," and launched into a hilariously pointed impression of Leno.

When Ripa praised his Leno voice, Letterman replied, "It's easy to do a demeaning, insulting impression of him, and once you've got that perfected, you're good to go."

-- Greg Braxton