Jay Leno’s Final ‘Tonight Show’ Tonight
|Jay Leno’s Final ‘Tonight Show’ Tonight|
“I don’t like goodbyes – NBC does – but I don’t care for them,” an emotional Jay Leno said, kicking off a star-studded final broadcast show as host of The Tonight Show. “Tonight is our last show for real. I don’t need to be fired three times – I get the hint,” Leno joked to a friends-and-family studio audience as he ended his 22-year run Thursday night. It’s his second very-last-time-as-host — having been pushed aside in 2009 by NBC to make way for Conan O’Brien, who lasted 7 months.
Tonight Show with Jay Leno“I’ve got to tell you, the outpouring from people has really been touching. Anthony Weiner sent me a photo of his [..] looking really sad.”
In sharp contrast to the “last” time Jay Leno celebrated his very last night as host of Tonight Show, in 2009, when, ever the team player, he had O’Brien as his final night’s guest, tonight’s taping was packed with celebrities. Longtime pal Garth Brooks performed his hit “The Dance.” And a cast of A-listers performed with Billy Crystal and The Shut Your Von Trapp Family Singers, the Rogers & Hammerstein tune from The Sound Of Music, “So Long, Farewell” with lyrics changed to suit the occasion.
But first, Leno mulled exactly how long 22 years is.
- “Here’s how long ago it is. When I started hosting, marijuana was illegal and you could smoke cigarettes anywhere you wanted.”
- “Twenty two years ago, guys had to go to newsstands for [..], can you imagine?”
- “So much has happened. You know the saddest part – OJ never found the real serial k#ller.”
Related: Jay Leno’s ‘Tonight Show’ Exit: Carefully Orchestrated Do-Over
Much of the night’s festivities were kept from Leno. He was surprised by a taped segment in which celebs were asked what they thought Jay should do next. Kevin Bacon suggested he take up painting, showing his own latest effort, which was a full-body nud# of Jay — a nod to the time former President George W. Bush was a recently guest of Leno’s surprised him with a portrait that he’d painted.
“I was once the host of a late night show myself,” Bob Costas reminisced, noting he too had been replaced by someone younger – “that no talent Greg Kinnear.”
“You have to learn to deal with it –hello Doctor!” Costas said, taking a swig out of a large bottle of Jack Daniels. “You’re gonna be fine,” Costas rea##ured.
“You made a lot of jokes about me over the years – I’m not upset,” said President Obama, announcing his appointment of Leno as “my new amba##ador to Antarctica. Hope you’ve got a coat funny man!”
Crystal was Leno’s guest on his very first show, on Monday, May 29, 1992. At that performance, Leno told Crystal he wanted him to be his guest on his very last show. Crystal came out tonight, with actors playing moving company guys; they tagged some props, then Crystal did a couple minutes of standup in which he described Leno as the guy who was always there for America:
When it was announced recently that America’s No. 1 terrorist had been captured, who told us it was Justin Bieber? You did.
When Hurricane Katrina hit, who told us they should rename it the Persian Gulf so Bush would send troops faster? You did.
Let me get this – you’re moving to 9 o’clock?
After the break, Crystal and some dancers in lederhosen and dirndl skirts called the Shut Your Von Trapp Singers sang the tune from The Sound of Music – NBC’s favorite musical – So Long Farewell, as one celebrity guest after another walked out on stage to take a verse:
- Jack Black: “So long farewell auf wiedersehen, goodbye. If Fallon tanks you’ll be back here next year.”
-Kim Kardashian “So long farewell, last night I told my folks. And now I won’t be butt of Leno’s jokes.
-Sheryl Crow: “So long farewell I give a little wave. But not for Jay – I want to get on Dave.”
-Jim Parsons: “So long, farewell, we’ve watch you and we’re weary. Your great success is called The Big Chin Theory.”
-Carol Burnett: “So long. Farewell. I’m here so what the hell. For your last show I’ll do The Tarzan Yell. Aiaiaiaiaia!”
-Oprah Winfrey: “So long, farewell, you really raised the bar. If you were me, you’d buy them all a car!”
”Boy this is the hard part,” Leno said, choking up, as the show wound down. “I want to thank you — the audience. You folks have been just incredibly loyal and — this is tricky. Oh,” he said, beginning to weep. “We wouldn’t be on the air without you people. Secondly, this has been the greatest 22 years of my life. “ He started to openly cry.
“I am the luckiest guy in the world. I got to meet presidents and astronauts and movie stars. It’s just been incredible.”
He thanked the crew, the writers and the producers who, he said, have made him look and sound better than he actually is.
“I’ll tell you something,” he said through tears. “The first year of this show, I lost my mom. The second year, I lost my dad. Then my brother died. After that I was pretty much out of family, and the folks here became my family. Consequently, when they went through rough times, I tried to be there for them.”
“People say to me, ‘Why didn’t you go to ABC, to Fox?’ I don’t know anybody over there. These are the only people I have ever known. I’m also proud to say, this is a union show. I have never worked with a more professional group of people in my life. They get paid good money and they do a good job.”
“I’m really excited for Jimmy Fallon,” Leno concluded. “It’s fun to be the old guy and see where the next generation takes this great institution. I’m so glad I got to be a part of it, but it really is time to go and hand it to the next guy. And, in conclusion, I want to quote Johnny Carson..”I bid you all a heartfelt good night.”
Brooks played the show out with “Friends in Low Places.”
Jay Leno's Last Episode As 'Tonight Show' Host -- Behind The Scenes
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|02-06-2014, 08:54 PM||away - #2|
!! that !! boy.
|02-06-2014, 11:32 PM||online - #3|
I'm older.. but ever since i was 13... i've been staying up til 1135 to watch the show... man been a part of my life
|02-06-2014, 11:34 PM||away - #4|
|02-07-2014, 01:02 AM||away - #5|
this dude really cried and got dragged off refusing to let go of the microphone
|02-07-2014, 01:48 AM||away - #6|
dont really watch late night tv anymore but i grew up Leno, and Conan right after
|02-07-2014, 02:41 AM||away - #7|
... i grew up on letterman
|02-07-2014, 02:44 AM||away - #8|
Been watching Jay for many years. I have to admit that it took me a good year and a half to start watching his Tonight Show after the whole Conan thing but the fact is that he's still the best. Job well done Jay. Fallon's got big big shoes to fill. Hope to be able to go to one of Leno's tour shows one day.
|02-07-2014, 08:19 AM||away - #9|
|02-07-2014, 08:29 AM||away - #10|
Jay coo. But if Dave Chappell had talk show on top of bringin Chappell Show back. The Game will be on shut down. But Jay had a great run & was the one i turned to for late night for the littlebit i watched
|02-07-2014, 08:35 AM||away - #11|
|02-07-2014, 11:46 AM||away - #12|
it was kind of sad lol...im sure its hard to let go. These guys have the best jobs ever. !!, i quit a kitchen job before and got sad because i was going to miss everyone lol.
I cant imagine at a cake job for 25 years
|02-07-2014, 12:51 PM||away - #13|
It'll always be !! this big-chinned !! for what he did to Conan. Eat multiple !!s Jay
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