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Letterman's 'Back-Handed Compliment' to Jay Leno Deadline

David Letterman gives his longtime rival Jay Leno what Deadline.com writer Nellie Andreeva describes as a “back-handed compliment” in his upcoming interview with Oprah Winfrey for her show “Oprah’s Next Chapter.” The program is set to air Jan. 6 on OWN.

In a promo clip released for the program, Letterman says of Leno: “He’s an unusual fellow. I’ve never met anyone quite like Jay. And I will say, and I’m happy to say, that I think he is the funniest guy I’ve ever known. Just flat out, if you go to see him do his nightclub act, just the funniest, the smartest, a wonderful observationist and very appealing as a comic. Therefore, the fact that he is also maybe the most insecure person I have ever known -- I could never reconcile that.”

Andreeva adds: “Letterman’s statement on Leno was actually in response to Winfrey’s question when the duo’s rivalry began (not when Leno got the ‘Tonight Show’ gig, according to Letterman), so we’ll presumably find that out.” She adds that the interview “comes on the heels of fellow late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel bashing Leno.”

Check out the clip: