Jay Leno Holding Back Tears, Choked Up, Says Goodbye on The Tonight Show [VIDEO/TRANSCRIPT]


Jay Leno takes a bow after 22 years of hosting The Tonight Show.

Jay Leno hosted his last episode of the Tonight Show on Thursday Night, February 6, 2014.


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

This is tricky.

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, astronauts, movie stars. It’s just been incredible. I got work with lighting people that make be look better than I really am. I got to work with audio people who make me sound better than I really do. And I got to work with producers and writers. And just all kinds of talented people, who made me look a lot smarter than I really am.

I’ll tell you something …

First year of this show, I lost my Mom.

Second year I lost my Dad.

Then my brother died.

And 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.

The last time we left the show you might remember we had their 64 children that were born among all are staffers that married. And that was a great moment.

And when people say to me, hey why don’t you go to ABC, why don’t you go to FOX, why don’t you … I didn’t know anybody over there. These are all the people I’ve ever known.

I’m also proud to say this is a union show.

I have never worked with a more professional group of people in my life.

They get paid good money and do a good job.

And when the guys and women on this show would show me the new car they bought or the house up the street here in Burbank — the one the guys got, I felt I played a bigger role in their success as they played in mine. And that was just a great feeling.

And I’m really excited for Jimmy Fallon. You know its fun to kind of be the old guy who sit back and see where the next generation takes this great institution. It really is. It’s been a great institution for 60 years. I’m so glad I got to be a part of it. But it really is time to go, and hand it off to the next guy. It really is.

And in closing I want to quote Johnny Carson, who was the greatest guy to ever do this job. And he said I bid you all a heartfelt good night.

Now … now that I brought the room down … Hey Garth do you got anything to liven this party up? Give it a shot … Garth Brooks.

— Jay Leno, Thursday, February 6, 2014

Garth Brooks finished with his 1990 Single of the Year,
“Friends in Low Places” including some of these lyrics …

And I’ll be okay
I’m not big on social graces
Think I’ll slip on down to the oasis
Oh, I’ve got friends in low places

Well, I guess I was wrong
I just don’t belong
But then, I’ve been there before
Everything’s all right
I’ll just say goodnight
And I’ll show myself to the door
Hey, I didn’t mean
To cause a big scene

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