Jay Leno has signed off from The Tonight Show this week after 22 years hosting the talk show (excluding a brief stint when Conan O’Brien took over in 2009/2010).
Leno’s final week saw his favourite guests making appearances including (upcoming Tonight Show host) Jimmy Fallon, Betty White, Bonnie Raitt, Matthew McConaughey, Charles Barkley, Lyle Lovett, Sandra Bullock, Blake Shelton, Vintage Trouble and his final programme had Billy Crystal (who also appeared on Leno’s first Tonight Show 22 years ago) & Garth Brooks amongst other surprise guests.
This was the last week the programme will come from Burbank, California – Jimmy Fallon’s programme will come from New York City starting Monday 17th February.
Jay made an emotional speech on his final show last night (Thursday) thanking his staff for their many years of service, an absent Kevin Eubanks (the former Tonight Show Band leader), his loyal viewers and paid homage to Johnny Carson:
There was even a mention of David Letterman during the final show where Leno dismissed the rumours of a long-running feud between them.
Oprah Winfrey (famous for ending her “feud” with Letterman on the Late Show) made a surprise appearance on the final programme in a musical feature hosted by Billy Crystal.
President Barack Obama even gave a farewell message to Leno, joking Jay was being given the job of ambassador of Antarctica following years of jokes at his expense on the show. Obama said “I hope you’ve got a warm coat funny man”.
Conan O’Brien (host of his own talk show on TBS) also joked about Leno’s departure on his show comparing it to NBC’s coverage of the Winter Olympics – “it’s a big deal – NBC will finally get to show somebody who’s okay with passing the torch”.
Ratings for the final show have been released – BBC News reports “according to Nielsen estimates, an average nightly audience of 4.99 million viewers tuned in to The Tonight Show during the week of 27-31 January… that was up 30% from the comparable week in 2013”.
Highlights from the final week of The Tonight Show With Jay Leno can be watched below.
The last ever Headlines segment:
Betty White with Leno and Jimmy Fallon:
Charles Barkley deliver’s Jay’s new jersey:
Sandra Bullock says goodbye:
Things Jay Found Cleaning His Office segment:
Billy Crystal’s surprise musical piece:
Celebrities say what they think Jay Leno should do next:
Jay Leno’s last ever Tonight Show monologue: