Thursday night, the late night world said goodbye to Jay Leno as his final episode as host of the Tonight Show aired. Some took the opportunity to get one final Leno joke off their chest (guess who that was?), while others pushed their past issues with Leno aside and offered their congratulations. See what Leno’s peers had to say:
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
Jimmy Fallon, who will replace Leno as host of the Tonight Show beginning February 17, went with a gracious farewell. “And so to Jay, we say thank you so much, he’s been a great guy. We’re gonna miss him,” Fallon said before getting in one joke: “And the ratings have been so good this last week because it’s his last week that NBC is going to extend his week so we’re going to have another week of saying goodbye to Jay Leno all next week.”
Not surprisingly, Conan O’Brien took one final jab at Leno. “The Olympics start airing tonight on NBC. It’s very cool. That’s right, NBC has the Olympics. It’s a big deal. NBC will finally get to show somebody who is OK with passing the torch,” O’Brien said before adding, “I allowed myself one, but it was a good one.”
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Jimmy Kimmel went with a tweet, congratulating Leno on his 20-year run.
The Arsenio Hall Show
Arsenio Hall and Leno may not have the greatest history together, but judging from Hall’s words last night all that is in the past. “I can’t believe he’s going, because here’s the crazy thing, forget everything you’ve heard. He’s number one. And they’re getting rid of the number one guy,” Hall said. “It shows that the business is really changing. That’s like, Michael Jordan. He’s the Michael Jordan of late night. That’s like somebody saying, ‘hey, Mike, put your tongue back in your mouth and get outta here.’ It’s pretty crazy, but we love him. He’s the living legend of late night. Let’s give him a big round of applause.”
Late Show with David Letterman
Letterman steered away from humor and instead simply offered a suggestion. “Congratulations on a wonderful run,” he said. “I’ll tell you something. If I was Jay Leno and I was retiring, you know what I would do? I would go out and buy myself a car.”