Jay Leno’s reign over “The Tonight Show” has finally come to an end — again — and he didn’t leave without taking some jabs at one of music’s biggest headline-makers: Justin Bieber.
The farewell show began by getting straight to business, with straightforward announcements of guests Billy Crystal and Garth Brooks. Leno took the stage, glad-handing folks in the front row, basking in the uproarious applause for several minutes. “Very kind, very kind,” he said through the seemingly endless ovation. When the applause died down, Leno began his final monologue, explaining that he doesn’t like goodbyes.
“NBC does; I don’t care for them,” he cracked, referring to his previous “Tonight Show” exit. “I don’t need to get fired three times — I got the hint.”
Leno went on to reminisce about the 22 years that have passed since he first took over the “Tonight Show,” saying that when he started, Justin Bieber hadn’t even been born yet — “the good old days,” as he likes to remember it.
Leno wasn’t the only one taking cracks at Bieber. The show’s final guest, Billy Crystal — who was also Leno’s very first guest on “The Tonight Show” — began his appearance with a monologue of his own, thanking Leno for all of the laughs over the years.
“You were America’s nightlight. You helped us through good times and bad. The country would stay up for your monologue, to hear the news from your perspective,” said Crystal. “When it was announced recently that America’s number one domestic terrorist had been captured, who told us it was Justin Bieber? You did.”
Bieber was the butt of a few jokes, but of course, Leno didn’t walk away unscathed. Several celebrities came out in full-force to send Leno off in hilarious shame, including Miley Cyrus, who slammed a car door into one of Leno’s prized old cars. Even Kim Kardashian came out to say goodbye, part of a star-studded rendition of “So Long, Farewell” from NBC’s new favorite musical, “The Sound of Music.”
In the end, while there were a lot of laughs, Leno’s exit ended in tears. The host signed off of “The Tonight Show” with one final monologue, spoken from his desk, remembering all of the good and bad times he experienced over his 22 years in the job. And it all ended with Leno recalling “Tonight Show” legend Johnny Carson’s final words in the seat:
“I bid you all a heartfelt goodnight.”
What did you think of Leno’s “Tonight Show” farewell?