Magic Johnson was one of Conan O'Brien's guests on his March 25 show.
Magic Johnson was one of Conan O'Brien's guests on his March 25 show.

Story highlights

Conan O'Brien avoided joking about Leno on Monday

It was his first night back after a week-long hiatus

O'Brien previously replaced Leno for seven months only to be pushed aside

Instead of Leno jokes, O'Brien focused on Passover and the Pope —  

Look who decided to turn the other cheek!

Conan O’Brien took the high road Monday on his TBS show “Conan.” It was the late night host’s first day back from a week-long hiatus that occurred at the same time 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, chose to joke about Passover and the Pope instead of his former employer, or the comedian who’s now about to lose his high-profile gig on NBC to Jimmy Fallon.

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“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.”

He continued, “Over the weekend, the current pope and the former pope had lunch together. The waiter who served them said they spent the whole time b******g about their boss.”

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 guests 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!”

Jay Leno’s Friday jokes: Knifed in the back by NBC

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.

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