Speed Reads

last night on late night

David Letterman tells Jimmy Kimmel that the crazy gift horse he sent Conan O'Brien was just a joke

It took four late-night talk show hosts to tell the story of Conan O'Brien's gift horse. O'Brien kicked it off on Friday's Late Show, and Letterman told his version Tuesday on Jimmy Kimmel Live, on tour in Brooklyn. Letterman approached the horse story indirectly, describing his penchant for giving humorously inappropriate gifts — tires for a niece's wedding, his tie collection to Kimmel, cigarettes for his producer's son's bar mitzvah, and a horse to O'Brien, as thanks for a very nice article O'Brien wrote about Letterman before his retirement.

The idea, Letterman explained, was that he would send Conan a horse, Conan would send it back, and Letterman would get a refund. Instead, O'Brien kept it, and Letterman said he was irked at both the financial hit and the fact that Conan is now griping publicly about his gift. "You did send him the horse, in all fairness," Kimmel pointed out. "Yeah, it was a joke — take a dump on the stage, load him up, get him back — that's what it was," Letterman said. "The point is, no good deed goes unpunished." "And also, you know what?" Kimmel replied. "When in doubt, an edible arrangement is a nice gift." But Kimmel, who also likes a good practical joke, had his own gift for Letterman.

O'Brien took about nine minutes to tell Stephen Colbert his side of the story. Conan, it turned out, was expecting a nice bottle of wine, or — when he heard about the size of the package — a vintage Porsche. The story ended happier for the horse than for O'Brien. "I learned then that Dave is a genius, but he's an evil genius," Conan said. "He knew exactly what he was doing." Watch below. Peter Weber