Kanye West Gets Teary-Eyed on Leno Premiere

By Caitlin Millat
|  Monday, Sep 14, 2009  |  Updated 11:07 PM CDT
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Kanye West tearfully apologized again for interrupting Taylor Swift's speech at the Video Music Awards Sunday evening, telling Jay Leno in the talk show host's show premiere that his mother, who died last year, would be ashamed of his behavior -- and that it's been "extremely difficult" dealing with his guilt.

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Kanye West emotionally apologized again for interrupting Taylor Swift's speech at the MTV Video Music Awards Sunday evening, telling Jay Leno in the talk show host show's premiere that his mother, who died last year, would be ashamed of his behavior -- and that it's been "extremely difficult" dealing with his guilt.

West showed up in all black, looking somber as he sat down with the host for an unexpected interview that took even Leno by surprise.

"It's been extremely difficult, just dealing with the fact that I hurt someone or took it in a way, you know, from a talented artist or from anywhere," West said.

"I only wanted to help people. My entire life, I've only wanted to give and do something that I felt was right, and I immediately knew in this situation that it was wrong," he said.

"It was rude. Period," he said.

West wiped his eyes when Leno asked what his mother, who died last year, would think about his behavior.

"Obviously I deal with hurt," West said as he paused to think. "I'm just ashamed that my hurt caused someone else's hurt. My dream of what awards shows are supposed to be caused...I don't try to justify it because it was just wrong."

West said he needed to "take some time off" to analyze his next move and how he'd "improve" throughout his life. He ended the impromptu interview with a hug from Leno, then went to perform with Rihanna and Jay-Z.

The rapper stormed the stage at the MTV VMAs when Taylor Swift, 19, won the award for Best Female Video of the Year, telling the audience to a chorus of boos that his friend Beyonce should've won the award.

West wasn't Leno's only all-star guest at the premiere -- and Leno brought some of his old tricks to his new gig.

Leno opened his new show with a monologue reminiscent of his old routine on "The Tonight Show," jabbing at everyone from politicians to entertainers and athletes.

His first joke was a dig at the West/Swift scandal, comparing the feud to the rift between African-American Harvard professor Henry Gates, Jr. and the officer who Gates alleged arrested him earlier this summer because of his race.

"It's been a busy week for President Obama -- he invited Kanye West and Taylor Swift to the White House for a root beer summit," Leno joked. "She's only 19."

Leno, who wore a navy blue tie and dark blue suit to the premiere, also poked fun at Vice President Joe Biden, health care and the "Cash for Clunkers" program as well as Serena Williams' outburst at the U.S. Open and perennial football losers the Detroit Lions.

He also spoke with good friend and legendary comedian Jerry Seinfeld, who opened the show as Leno's first sit-down guest. Seinfeld wore a full tuxedo for the occasion, sitting on the plush blue velvet chairs on Leno's new streamlined stage as he spoke with the host.

"In the '90s, when we quit a show, we actually left," Seinfeld joked to Leno, who dumped NBC's "Tonight Show" last year.

"Jay and I have been very close friends for many years, but the truth is when I heard I was going to be asked to be the first guest, I was slightly disappointed you couldn't get a bigger name," Seinfeld said to Leno. "I haven't been on television in 11 years."

Oprah also appeared on the show via a video screen in between Seinfeld and Leno. She talked about the upcoming season of her show and conducted a mock interview with Seinfeld, who she said was her good friend.

A staged interview that juxtaposed a past interview with President Obama with new questions from Leno was also shown on the premiere, pairing old Obama clips with new Leno footage.

"Tort reform" was Obama's advice to Leno's question about whether he should eat a raspberry or blueberry pastry.

Leno's new show airs at 10 p.m. on NBC.

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