After 22 years, Jay Leno says goodbye to 'Tonight' with help from Billy Crystal, Garth Brooks

  • Article by: LYNN ELBER , Associated Press
  • Updated: February 7, 2014 - 8:23 AM

BURBANK, Calif. — Jay Leno has said goodbye to "The Tonight Show" before, but not like this. The comedian became tearful and choked up Thursday as he concluded what he called the "greatest 22 years of my life."

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SeaSharkFeb. 6, 1411:44 AM

RIP "The Tonight Show" when Jay Leno leaves the building Thursday night. NBC brings the final curtain down on the iconic gold standard of late night talk show television and the network's premier license-to-print-money profit machine. "The Tonight Show" becomes "The Children's Hour" starring Jimmy Fallon effective February 17. "The Tonight Show" has historically been hosted by adult men in every good sense of the word: Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, and Jay Leno. Conan O' Brien failed because there is a limited niche appeal for his petulant man-child behavior, his abrasive humor has limited appeal and his smug, arrogant, caustic, condescending personality and demeanor was instantly rejected by "Tonight's" core audience. Jimmy Fallon seems to be a genuinely nice guy but his silly juvenile humor is also expected to be rejected by "Tonight's" core audience, and he is unlikely to attract enough new viewers to prevent David Letterman's "The Late Show" from quickly becoming #1. Jay Leno--funny, friendly, charming, creative, good natured, and blessed with a cheerful zest for life informed by an innate overriding humanity--is still Master of "The Tonight Show" domain. NBC is foolish to prematurely push him out the door before he voluntarily decided to retire and welcome Ellen DeGeneres as "Tonight's" new host.

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rulistening9Feb. 6, 1411:51 AM

Buh bye! Personally, I've never found Jay Leno to be very entertaining.

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ChasmannFeb. 6, 1412:19 PM

If NBC was smart, and could work out a deal with the Carson estate, they could show re-runs of the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and have better ratings than any of the pretenders that are on today. Leno, now gone, was the last of the tolerable hosts, but still couldn't come close to Carson himself. Nobody could, or ever will be able to.

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sumyounguyFeb. 6, 1412:24 PM

Nothing against Fallon, but I hope he flops, to teach NBC another lesson.

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roadtoruinFeb. 6, 1412:32 PM

Leno was a class act. I'm really going to miss watching "Headlines" on Monday nights.

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d434478Feb. 6, 1412:51 PM

Just like food...personal choice. Never saw charisma in Leno. Did not seem quick and we always seemed to turn back to Letterman. But actually it is now Colbert and Stewart for us....and you can see who is winning the TV awards...the new blood. so times change. I think Colbert is funny, funny!

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chastaylorFeb. 6, 1412:52 PM

I think J Fallon is closer in personality and actions to that of Johnny Carson. I think he'll do well and maybe Leno can revive Mayberry :)

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cabramsFeb. 6, 14 1:43 PM

The challenge will be to get the folks watching The Daily Show to tune into Fallon. Hope he can do it because I find Fallon far more entertaining that Leno and I am in Leno's generation.

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bh1963Feb. 6, 14 2:18 PM

Not quite as big a deal as when Carson retired in 1992. I still have a VCR tape (pretty worn out now) of Carson's last two shows. No one will ever be as big as he was. For one thing, in Carson's heyday, there weren't any cable networks: ABC, NBC, CBS and PBS were it. And the secret to Carson's success: it wasn't about him!! His guests were free to act as funny, or smart, or annoying as they wished. Even Letterman (who's been on the air longer than Carson) is a bit full of himself at times. Leno did an admirable job following a legend, but in TV, as in sports, there comes a time when the old guys have to make way for the younger ones.

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MAUIWHALEPLUFeb. 6, 14 2:26 PM

Hate Leno, good riddance! Conan has more talent in his pinkie than Leno ever had and Fallon will be a huge upgrade!

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