Jay Leno cried during his historic last episode of The Tonight Show. This is the second farewell the host has made in regards to The Tonight Show. Leno assures everyone that this is his last stint hosting the show, but it is likely that he will continue to entertain. The 63-year-old performance veteran may have retired from The Tonight Show, but this may not be the last time he is seen in front of an audience. Obviously emotional about leaving, Leno seems too enamored with the spotlight to ever truly retire.
Leno joked briefly about his plans to continue his life after NBC and The Tonight Show, explaining that he would now have to apply for Obamacare. Truth is, Leno is already booked to do a stand-up tour beginning in Florida. His decision to return to grassroots stand-up performance is a smarter than his first run at retirement, which led to him hosting the Jay Leno Show. In 2009, NBC had originally fired Leno, but offered him a spot outside of primetime television at 11:30 pm. The Jay Leno Show received poor reviews and did not last long. Ultimately, Leno returned to The Tonight Show for four more years, and left production when asked politely. Leno seems more comfortable with the circumstance, and has expressed confidence in the show’s new host Jimmy Fallon. In recent interviews, Leno describes how the generation has changed, and he is unable to offer the type of entertainment that Fallon does. He claims he is unable to dance and sing with Justin Timberlake, and is disconnected with the Twitter generation. The big reason Leno might be so at ease with leaving his throne is the fact that he is around the same age as Johnny Carson when he left.
Leno has nothing to fear when it comes to fan loyalty. This time around, his goodbyes brought in 14.6 million views, which is much more than 2009. Tickets to Leno’s first stand-up show on March 27th in Jacksonville, Florida are being sold for an average of $240. Tickets for the end of the show in November at the Las Vegas Mirage range from $68 to $688. There are still a few seats left at each show, but as the tour proceeds Leno will surely sell out. In comparison, Johnny Carson responded to his retirement from The Tonight Show with similar energy to Leno but limited options. Carson had served as a mentor to both Leno and David Letterman, but after his retirement made his last television appearance on Letterman’s show. Sources claim that Carson suffered from health limitations. One thing is for sure, The Tonight Show is a comic legend-making machine. Any person who has had the privilege to host it is destined for a lifetime of entertainment. From Carson to Leno, to Conan O’Brien back to Leno, to Fallon; the list of talent is unbeatable. While trends may change and generations may pass, The Tonight Show is a lasting enterprise. The best part is that people like Leno will always have an audience to speak to and will always have a desire to continue on.
By Victoria Chuidian