Jay Leno's ascension to the host's chair at "Tonight Show" was tumultuous. And now it's looking like his exit might be rocky too.
Relations between the comic and his NBC bosses have soured in recent days, with Leno calling them "snakes" during Monday's monologue.
"You know the whole legend of St. Patrick, right? St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland, and then they came into the United States and became NBC executives," Leno joked, as some in his studio audience gasped. "It's a fascinating story, a fascinating story."
The ribbing came just days after the New York Times reported that NBC chief Bob Greenblatt traded tense emails with Leno over recent "Tonight" jokes ridiculing NBC's poor ratings this winter. Last year, the network slashed the budget of "Tonight" by 20% in a cost-cutting move, also renewing the host's contract through mid-2014.