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Friday, February 7, 2014

Jay Leno's Emotional and Tearful Goodbye to 'The Tonight Show'

I remembered when Jay Leno took over The Tonight Show from Johnny Carson.

I remembered the ugliness that transpired between him and his former friend David Letterman as Leno snatched the Tonight Show crown from the stunned Letterman like a late night version of "Game of Thrones."

I remembered the book "The Late Shift" and its comical HBO movie based on the book, which chronicled how Leno became The Tonight Show host and Letterman went to CBS for revenge against NBC.

Yet all those crazy, backstabbing times of years ago, quickly faded  away as  Jay Leno spoke from the heart on how he felt about The Tonight Show, the people he worked with and the family members who died quickly and suddenly as he became late night's #1 host.

In those last few  fleeting moments, Jay Leno  finally emotionally connected to the audience as Letterman did after 9-11 and his heart surgery.

Gone were the one liners about Clinton, Bush and Obama and its place was a guy from Boston, open, honest and vulnerable. Reflecting on a past that has gone by ever so quickly gone and a future and that will be still comical, but less uncertain.

When it comes to late night greats, Jay Leno will never be cool as  Johnny Carson, innovative as Steve Allen  or groundbreaking as his now somewhat friendly rival Letterman.

But that was never Jay Leno's thing. Leno's deal was to entertain and keep the show moving. 

Yet as his Tonight Show clock clicked clicked towards zero , Jay Leno stopped entertaining  then audience and finally revealed piece of himself them, which ultimately was his finest moment on late night TV.

-Kevin Lockett

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