Asked by Stern if he'd ever like to switch seats with carrot-top Late Night host O'Brien, Richter responded with a sarcastic dig: "There's nothing I'd love better than interviewing the third star of the latest midseason replacement."

Richter, 33, announced a year ago that he planned to leave the talk show for other creative pursuits. He has a part in the upcoming movie Dr. T and the Women (for which, he said, he was paid "almost nothing") and has hopes of developing a sketch-comedy TV show. Right now, he told Stern, "I don't really have anything lined up."

An incredulous Stern repeatedly grilled Richter as to why he would walk away from a steady gig that pays more than $500,000 a year. "All I'm doing is going to work freelance," said Richter. "What's so crazy about that?

"I'm not leaving to be some multimillion-dollar star," he said. "I'm leaving to do something different."