Joining Ryan Seacrest at the start of Thursday’s show, the 44-year-old comedian came out to poke fun at the long-serving Idol host and himself.
"Well, well, well Seacrest. Looks like after tonight, you're going to be out of a job," Dunkleman said, smugly, after taking the Idol stage. "And trust me, nobody knows the pain of life without Idol more than me. But don't worry buddy, being unemployed? It's not that bad."
"Actually, I have a radio gig, and some other stuff going on," Seacrest, 41, explained.
"Yeah, that's what I said too," Dunkleman shot back.
Dunkleman left Idol after the first season came to a close to persue an acting career and has admitted in the past that he didn't expect the show to become the cultural phenomenon that it did.
Mocking that decision, Dunkleman told Seacrest, "I just wanted to stop by and and congratulate the show on struggling along for another 14 seasons without me."
However, his appearance wasn't all sarcastic. Dunkleman made sure to get serious for a minute with a heartfelt message for his former co-host.
"There's something I've been waiting to say to you for a very long time now," Dunkleman said, ominously. "You've done an amazing job hosting this show all these years, and I congratulate you on all your success."
The two then shook hands and hugged it out before Dunkleman got the opportunity to bring out the Idol judges, Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr., just like in the good old days.