With his return as the host of "The Tonight Show" just a few short weeks away, Jay Leno's final outing on "The Jay Leno Show" was something of a subdued affair. The tone was lighthearted and guests were agreeable, but Leno's final prime-time hosting gig lacked the same emotional punch that outgoing "Tonight Show" host Conan O'Brien enjoyed in his closing moments on the air.
"This show was supposed to last two years, but my sentence was reduced to five months for good behavior," Leno quipped during the show's opening monologue.
The remainder of Leno's opening bit contained jabs at President Barack Obama, the recent sex scandal involving former senator John Edwards and Sarah Palin's recently revealed habit of reading notes off her hand during speaking engagements. Leno also took the time to discuss the many commercials aired during Sunday's Super Bowl, though he curiously failed to acknowledge the much-buzzed advertisement featuring himself, David Letterman and Oprah Winfrey.
Following his monologue, Leno took a few moments to reflect on the five-month run of "The Jay Leno Show," showing a series of doctored clips that altered the show's more notorious moments -- for example, Leno's famous mention of Kanye West's mother following the musician's misconduct at the MTV Video Music Awards featured an alternate ending where West furiously smacked Leno in the face. At the end of the retrospective, special guest Donald Trump appeared via satellite to offer Leno his signature line: "You're fired!"
Leno's two announced guests of the evening were "Valentine's Day" actor Ashton Kutcher and Oscar-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe, who reflected on her recent brushes with celebrity. Kutcher was the subject of the show's more humorous moments, including a bit where he fielded passes from recently retired Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner through harsh weather conditions. But Kutcher also took a turn for the serious when he revealed his and wife Demi Moore's plans to launch the DNA Foundation, an organization dedicated to ending human trafficking.
Acclaimed sports journalist and personality Bob Costas was the final guest of the evening and also the last subject of Leno's final 10@10 segment, during which the host asks a series of 10 predetermined questions. Over the course of the rapid-fire interview, Costas revealed that he lied in college to get a job as a hockey sportscaster, he has been confused for other sports personalities including Marv Albert in the past, and he carries a lucky Topps baseball card of Mickey Mantle circa 1958. He also mentioned that the settlement of a longtime feud between himself and former running back Marshall Faulk gave him hope that one day, Jay Leno and David Letterman could repair their own strained relationship.
In the show's closing moments, Leno thanked Costas for his participation as the last ever 10@10 interviewee. But before the talk-show host could give any closing comments to the gathered audience, the feed ended abruptly and transitioned directly into NBC's scheduled news program. The show's unceremonious sendoff offered a stark reminder that Leno's departure from the airwaves is only temporary.