Once upon a time, late night talk show hosts could make offensive jokes about a majority-black urban area with impunity. (Comedians have been dining on bitch-set-me-up Marian Barry for years.)

But that was before the Age of Cory Booker. Before a little-known mayor of a mid-sized New Jersey city could get more than 820,000 followers on Twitter. Before he could hit back at a tasteless joke with a video that would garner 177,000 views on YouTube.

Poor Conan O’Brien was so shook by Booker that he went crying to no less than the nation’s top diplomat, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who   attempted to end the stalemate with a video of her own. She threw in a few digs at the “mildly amusing” Conan for his “lame jokes about her pantsuits.” She told the boys to play nice, then with a vicious deadpan, scolded: “Conan, please don’t bother me again.”

There was W.E.B. Dubois versus Booker T. Washington. We had Biggie versus Tupac. The biggest beef of 2009 may be come Friday when Booker appears on O’Brien’s show.

UPDATE: Jack & Jill Politics on Booker's latest YouTube: "This is how you mayor, son."