After 22 years of memorable jokes, Jay Leno said au revoir to the The Tonight Show on his last night of the show this Thursday. Despite it being an emotional night, the comedy had to commence in remembrance of the iconic comedian’s 22-year career on the show.
The lineup for Jay Leno’s last night on the show consisted of Billy Crystal, Jack Black, Oprah Winfrey, Garth Brooks and Cheryl Crowe; Kim Kardashian also made a guest appearance during the show. The show began with a joke aimed at Obama, who had previously told the comedian that he shouldn’t worry, as there was a job as an ambassador to Antarctica open for him. Leno responded by saying, “I think the worst thing about losing my job is that I will no longer have my NBC coverage and will unfortunately have to sign up with Obamacare.” In addition, Leno then went on to talk about why the good old days when he had started had been the good old days. It was because Justin Bieber hadn’t even been born yet.
Throughout the remainder of the night, Jay Leno played recorded messages from various celebrities who also wished to bid him farewell on his last night of The Tonight Show. In the recordings, Kevin Bacon, Mark Wahlberg, Charlie Sheen, Tyler Perry and Martha Stewart all said goodbye to Jay Leno. In addition, Jimmy Fallon, who is to take over as the host as of February 17th, also sent Leno a recorded message saying, “If there is ever a time that your big head is full of jokes, and a big story breaks out, then you are always welcomed to come back to your home.”
For some time, Jay Leno and comedian Billy Crystal rallied jokes back and forth concerning exactly how long Leno had been with the show. Crystal mentioned that Leno must have made over 100,000 jokes during his tenure. When asked how long he had been on the show, the comedian replied, “Let’s just say this, when I first started here on The Tonight Show, marijuana wasn’t illegal, and you could smoke cigarettes anywhere you’d like.” Crystal concluded with one last compliment for Leno: “Leno, you’ve been America’s limelight. You’ve helped us get through some good and bad times.” Before making his leave, Crystal sang the song So Long, Farewell.
Although Leno had hoped for a night full of laughs on his last night on The Tonight Show, the comedian started to tear up as the show began to wind down. It was at this time that Leno, who had beads of tears emerging from his eyes, stopped for his last monologue. Leno started it off with a joke, saying, ” I don’t like saying goodbyes. NBC on the other hand does, but I certainly don’t. I don’t need to get fired for a third time; I think I get the hint.” It was at this time that Leno made sure to address his fans directly saying, “I just wanted to stop and thank you. You’ve all proved to be especially loyal. I feel like I’m the luckiest man in the whole world. I’ve gotten to meet astronauts, movie stars and presidents. It has honestly been remarkable.”
By Aaron Weis