A good run

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MUSIC - By Eric KElsEy

Co­me­dian Jay Leno said an emo­tional good­bye to the Tonight Show on Thurs­day with a star-stud­ded farewell led by ac­tor Billy Crys­tal, af­ter host­ing the nBC late night show for more than 20 years and hand­ing the reins over to Jimmy Fal­lon.

Leno, 63, who took over one of US broad­cast tele­vi­sion’s mar­quee pro­grammes in 1992 from Johnny Car­son, came out to a stand­ing ova­tion from the au­di­ence of friends and fam­ily, shak­ing hands with many as he did in each show.

“i don’t like good­byes; nBC does,” Leno quipped when open­ing his mono­logue, pok­ing fun at the net­work that or­ches­trated his de­par­ture from the show in 2009 only to re­in­stall him back as host less than a year later.

His fi­nal mono­logue was pep­pered with then-and-now re­flec­tions on the changes since his ten­ure at Tonight be­gan.

“When i started host­ing, Justin Bieber wasn’t even born yet. That’s why we call those the good ol’ days,” Leno said, pok­ing fun at the trou­bled Cana­dian teen pop star.

The sil­ver-haired host ended the show on an emo­tional note, say­ing, “This has been the great­est 22 years of my life,” as he rested his hand on his chin with tears well- ing in his eyes.

“it re­ally is time for me to go and hand it off to the next guy,” the co­me­dian added.

Crys­tal praised Leno for giv­ing a comic’s levity to cur­rent events and “mak­ing us sleep bet­ter at night.”

Crys­tal led a comic ren­di­tion of So Long, Farewell from The Sound Of Mu­sic that in­cluded guest ap­pear­ances from oprah Win­frey, Jack Black, Carol Bur­nett, Sh­eryl Crow, Jim Par­sons, nBa bas­ket­ball player Chris Paul and Kim Kar­dashian.

Coun­try mu­sic star Garth Brooks was the mu­si­cal guest, per­form­ing two songs in­clud­ing his hit, Friends In Low Places. Leno also re­ceived pre-recorded farewells from celebri­ties such as ac­tors matt da­mon, mark Wahlberg, Char­lie Sheen, sports broad­caster Bob Costas and his suc­ces­sor Jimmy Fal­lon.

even Pres­i­dent Barack obama, who in 2009 be­came the first sit­ting pres­i­dent to ap­pear on a late night talk show when he joined Leno on Tonight, de­liv­ered a pre-recorded good­bye.

The Tonight Show first aired on nBC in 1954 from new York with host Steve allen. Jack Paar hosted the show from 1957 un­til Car­son took over in 1962, and held his reign for 30 years, be­fore de­part­ing in 1992.

Leno led the Tonight Show to the top of the late night rat­ings in 1995 and has held off com­peti­tors david Let­ter­man’s Late Show on CBS and aBC’s Jimmy Kim­mel Live.

over Leno’s 22 years, he has been joined on the couch by celebri­ties, politi­cians, ath­letes and pop cul­ture fig­ures. no­table guests in­clude Tom Cruise, Betty White, Hugh Grant, for­mer new York Gov­er­nor eliot Spitzer, first lady michelle obama, arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger and most re­cently, mi­ley Cyrus.

Fal­lon, 39, will be tak­ing the Tonight Show back to its new York roots for the first time since 1972, when nBC moved the show with Car­son to Bur­bank, Cal­i­for­nia. Fal­lon will be­gin his new host­ing du­ties on Feb 17 on the net­work owned by Com­cast Corp. – Reuters

Jay Leno (right) brings his 22-year ca­reer as the show host to an end in a spe­cial one-hour farewell broad­cast. billy Crys­tal, one of Leno’s guests from his first show, joined the host on his fi­nale.

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