Jay Leno left the Tonight Show Thursday with tears, laughter, and an ambassadorship to Antarctica bestowed on him by President Obama, which is better than any of us normals can ever hope to do. As part of his last episode, Jay Leno was serenaded by his first ever late-night guest Billy Crystal, who along with Jack Black and the Shut Your Von Trapp Family Singers performed a personalized version of “So Long, Farewell.” Kevin Bacon, Bob Costas, Garth Brooks, Oprah Winfrey, Kim Kardashian, Sheryl Crow, Clippers point guard Chris Paul, and Jim Parsons also stopped by to share the love.
“Boy, this is the hard part. I want to thank you, the audience. You folks have been just incredibly loyal and this is tricky,” Leno said, getting teary. “We wouldn’t be on the air without you people. Secondly, this has been the greatest 22 years of my life. I am the luckiest guy in the world. I got to meet presidents and astronauts and movie stars. It’s just been incredible.”
While the show sadly neglected to bring back the Dancing Itos for one more turn around the dance floor, Jay still made some solid zingers about NBC’s decision to oust him for a second time, explaining, “I don’t like goodbyes. NBC does, but I don’t care for them. Tonight is our last show for real. I don’t need to be fired three times. I get the hint.” And honestly, that’s pretty funny.