03:09 AM EDT 07/07/2014
Originally posted 02/07/2014 10:30AM
After 22 years interviewing the best in Hollywood, Jay Leno was bound to make a few A-list pals.
His final Tonight Show broadcast was full of special celebrity guests, and stars who couldn't join in the festivities sent Leno love through social media.
Sure, rival Conan O'Brien allowed himself one solid wisecrack during his own show: "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 okay with passing the torch."
Originally posted 02/07/2014 09:45AM
Originally posted 02/06/2014 12:00PM
In his 22 years hosting The Tonight Show, Jay Leno crafted a winning formula: a bit of silliness, crossed with snark, and delivered with an utter lack of pretension.
As Leno prepares to hang up his Tonight Show spurs Thursday night, let's look back on some of the highlights of his decades-long tenure, from his news-making interviews to his 4,600 jokes about Bill Clinton:
Originally posted 02/07/2014 06:15AM
Jay Leno left NBC's The Tonight Show after 22 years Thursday night with a farewell that included old friends Billy Crystal and Garth Brooks and – the one big stunt – a large surprise ensemble of guests (Oprah Winfrey, Kim Kardashian, Jack Black) singing novelty lyrics to "So Long, Farewell" from The Sound of Music.
Originally posted 02/06/2014 10:00PM
Even on a bittersweet night, there had to be jokes.
Jay Leno has hosted The Tonight Show for a loooooong time. So tell us, Jay, how long was it?
"Here's how long," he said Thursday. "When I started hosting, marijuana was illegal and you could smoke cigarettes anywhere you wanted."
Actually, it was 22 years since he took over for Johnny Carson at NBC's venerable late-night show from beautiful downtown Burbank, not counting seven disastrous months in 2009 when Conan O'Brien helmed the program.
Now leaving a second time to make way for a new host – Jimmy Fallon – and a new city – New York – Leno, 63, said on his final show that this time it was his decision.
Originally posted 02/06/2014 10:05AM
Sandra Bullock appeared on The Tonight Show Wednesday to say goodbye to Jay Leno, and couldn't help herself from tearing up a little.
Originally posted 02/04/2014 11:45AM
Jimmy Fallon is known for his sarcastic "thank you" notes, but there was no snark in his emotional tribute to Jay Leno Monday.
Originally posted 01/31/2014 12:00PM
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Originally posted 01/30/2014 11:15AM
When Seth MacFarlane and Bill Maher drop by your show to sing to you, you know you're not going to get a sentimental rendition of "The Best Is Yet to Come."
The pair said their goodbyes to Jay Leno on The Tonight Show Wednesday in swinging fashion, serenading the departing host with a song that thanked Leno for "the memories you gave," but mostly for "your rivalry with Dave [Letterman]" and "the beating that you gave."
The pair aren't referring to some previously hidden parking-lot dust-up between the two iconic late-night hosts, but rather, as Maher sings, the fact that "you crushed him in the ratings, and you'll take that to your grave!"
Originally posted 01/29/2014 03:00PM
There's one thing Jay Leno is looking forward to doing when he leaves The Tonight Show on Feb. 6 – going out on a weeknight instead of staying home and working on the following day's monologue.
"I can go out on a school night, which I've never been able to do," he said during an interview set to air on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Wednesday. "I've never been out in 22 years on a Wednesday night. It's like, 'Oh you're doing something wrong. You have to go home and write jokes every single night.' "
While he's 63, Leno isn't retiring anytime soon. Instead he's going back to his roots as a stand-up comedian.
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