Jay Leno’s Last Night on the ‘Tonight Show’: Top 10 Highlights & Recap

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After more than twenty years, Jay Leno is hanging up his hat as the host of The Tonight Show. Soon Jimmy Fallon will take over, but for now, let’s celebrate Leno’s long run … Tonight, Leno started things off by coming onto the stage and shaking over a dozen hands from the audience. He then went into his normal funny opening monologue, talking about how long the past 22 years have actually been, saying things like, “Twenty-two years ago guys actually had to go to the newsstand to buy porn.”

It was Leno’s last show tonight and we’ve got the full recap with highlights below …

1. Leno Ended The Night in Tears

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At the end of the show, Leno had to give his loyal viewers a farewell and he became quite choked up, openly showing his tears. He cried:

Boy this is the hard part. I want to thank you — the audience. You folks have been just incredibly loyal and — this is tricky. Oh. 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.

Leno then opens up about the crew that he’s worked with for so many years saying:

I’ll tell you something. The first year of this show, I lost my mom. The second year, I lost my dad. Then my brother died. After that I was pretty much out of family, and the folks here became my family. Consequently, when they went through rough times, I tried to be there for them.

It was so incredibly touching and such a heartfelt goodbye.

2. Billy Crystal Showed Up With Movers

Billy Crystal was Leno’s guest on his first show on May 25, 1992 and on that show, Leno told him that he wanted him to be his guest on his final show. Crystal kept his word and returned for Leno’s last night, but he showed up with a “moving company” to give Leno a little help packing it up.

Before sitting down, Crystal did a stand-up routine at Leno’s expense of course and also paid tribute to him by reciting some of Leno’s best quotes.

3. The Show Surprised Viewers With a Celebrity-Studded Video

Many things were kept a secret from Leno on his last night. One of the surprises was a video showing different celebrities giving Leno suggestions as to what he should do for his retirement. Deadline writes:

He was surprised by a taped segment in which celebs were asked what they thought Jay should do next. Kevin Bacon suggested he take up painting, showing his own latest effort, which was a full-body nude of Jay — a nod to the time former President George W. Bush was a recently guest of Leno’s surprised him with a portrait that he’d painted.

Steve Carell, Miley Cyrus, Mark Wahlberg, Olivia Wilde, Charlie Sheen, Kevin Bacon, President Obama, Kevin Hart, and Matt Damon were just some of the celebrities who participated in the tribute video.

4. A Range of Celebrities Serenaded Leno

With a song from The Sound of Music, Billy Crystal, along with several other, serenaded Leno with the song “So Long, Farewell.”

The celebrities who joined Crystal one by one were Jack Black, Oprah Winfrey, Kim Kardashian, Jim Parsons, Carol Burnett, Chris Paul, and Sheryl Crow.

It was an impressive and cute surprise for Leno on his last night as host.

5. Leno Shared Some Kind Words For Jimmy Fallon

Of course, Leno had to mention his successor Jimmy Fallon during his last show. Leno extended some well wishes for the show’s new host saying:

I’m really excited for Jimmy Fallon. It’s fun to be the old guy and see where the next generation takes this great institution. I’m so glad I got to be a part of it, but it really is time to go and hand it to the next guy.

Click the “Next Page” button below to see the remaining five highlights from Leno’s last show …

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