Jay Leno bid farewell to The Tonight Show and his beloved cast, crew and fans on Thursday night, accompanied by Billy Crystal, Garth Brooks and a bevy of fun and poignant surprises. Following Jay’s final monologue a few pre-filmed goodbyes were shared. Steve Carell sat at his desk from The Office and wished Jay well. Martha Stewart made overt sexual innuendoes. Even President Obama filmed a clip to say goodbye to the late night host.
Billy Crystal was the perfect guest for Jay Leno’s last show. Not only does he know Leno personally, he also knows his style of comedy. The two played perfectly into one another’s hands. Crystal wasn’t without a bit of sentimentality, however.
“You work so hard because you love this job, and more than anybody I know, you love being a comedian,” he told Jay–and he even choked up a bit as he said it. “It’s been such a thrill to watch you be one of America’s friends, who they turn to before they go to sleep at night.”
He then segued into a rendition of The Sound of Music’s song Goodbye, Farewell, with a string of celebrities walking or dancing on stage singing their own lyrics dedicated to Jay. Jack Black, Sheryl Crow, Jim Parsons, Kim Kardashian, Chris Paul, Carol Burnett–who did her famous Tarzan call–and even Oprah Winfrey sang a few lines.
“So long, farewell, you really raised the bar,” Oprah belted out. “If you were me, you’d buy them all a car.”
Justin Timberlake bid Jay adieu via Twitter.
Much love to the one and only @jayleno. Thank you for all the laughs and great times! Also… Can I have a car? No? Ok, cool.
— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) February 7, 2014
Following this segment of the show it was clear the end was near. Leno queued up his good friend Garth Brooks who performed The Dance. The song set the tone for what was to come. When it finished, Jay Leno sat at The Tonight Show desk for one last time.
“This is the hard part,” he said, with his voice cracking and his eyes welling. “This is tricky. I have to thank the audience. We wouldn’t be on the air without you people. This has been the greatest 22 years of my life.”
“I am the luckiest guy in the world. I got to meet presidents, astronauts, movie stars,” he continued, wiping away a few tears. “First year of this show, I lost my mom; second year, I lost my dad. Then my brother died. I was pretty much out of family. The folks here became my family … When people to say to me, ‘Why didn’t you go to ABC? Why didn’t you go to Fox?’ I didn’t know anybody there. These are the only people I’ve ever known.”
Leno lauded Johnny Carson as “the greatest” to ever hold The Tonight Show seat, and he quoted him before queuing Garth Brooks one last time.
“I bid you all a heartfelt goodnight.”
Brooks closed out the show with Low Places.
Leno’s last words on The Tonight Show as he symbolically passed the torch to Jimmy Fallon were directed at wife Mavis, who sat in the audience for Jay’s final show.
“I’m coming home, Honey!” he shouted.
There was likely not one dry eye in the audience.
Image via YouTube