updated 03/31/2010 AT 3:00 PM ET
•originally published 03/31/2010 AT 3:30 PM ET
Joy Behar may have been the guest on Tuesday’s The Tonight Show, but host Jay Leno was the one who really dished.
In a short conversation backstage, Leno told Behar for her HLN show that he and Conan O’Brien were both “treated terribly” in January’s shake-up at NBC, which eventually restored him as host of The Tonight Show.
“Conan got screwed. I got screwed,” Leno said. “This is TV. The reason show business pays a lot of money is so when you get screwed you’ve got something left over.”
But Leno expects O’Brien, who recently announced a 30-city North American tour, to return to television eventually.
“I think Conan will come back and he’ll be strong,” Leno said. “And we’ll all compete against one another. It should be me against [David] Letterman, against Conan, against [Jimmy] Kimmel – and then you see who wins,” he said.
Leno also told Behar he doesn t take his critics too seriously.
“All comics are friends, [but] when you go on stage your job is to blow the other guys off the stage,” he said. “I get it. That’s the way it works. You don’t impede somebody else’s opportunity, but when you go out there that’s what you do.”
Wrapping up the brief conversation, Leno thanked Behar and teased, “I’m gonna go say hi to Conan.”
Get a sneak peek of this week’s issue – Sandra Bullock’s divorce dilemma, new Jolie-Pitt twin photos and more – which is on newsstands Friday.