After 20+ years on the air, last week was Jay's last, and I was feeling a little sentimental. So I DVR'd every episode this week to make sure I caught every last moment before the Jay Leno era ended for good.
I remember when Johnny Carson left in May 1992. I wasn't a regular viewer of late night talk then either, but I remember taping each of his last shows, too (but I couldn't tell you for the life of me what became of those old VHS tapes).
Monday night's second guest was Betty White, and when she emerged from the backstage Jay and Jimmy escorted her to the couch. She teased Jay by acting more interested in Jimmy. Then she reminisced about each of the previous Tonight Show hosts, going all the way back to Steve Allen and Jack Paar. Then Jay showed an old clip of Betty's Life With Elizabeth show from the early 1950s and Betty was thrilled. I'd like to see more of those old episodes!
On Tuesday, Matthew McCaunahey was the first guest, followed by former NBA star Charles Barkley, who is now a commentator. Matthew talked a little about "Dallas Buyers Club" - the movie that may win him an Oscar. And Barkley praised the LA Clippers. Then on Wednesday, Sandra Bullock - another possible Oscar winner this year - was the first guest followed by Blake Shelton. Blake began to tell a story about marijuana smoking at the Grammys a few weeks ago but didn't get to finish the story. Jay managed to tease Sandra a bit for some of her bad movies ("Speed 2") but then praised her for others, including a movie that came out 20 years ago called Wrestling Ernest Hemingway. Jay talked about how much he loved it and her performance in it. I never saw that movie but I'm going to seek it out and review it on my movie blog one day.
Then Thursday was Jay's final show, with guest Billy Crystal. Billy began with a little comedy act, and then sang a parody of the "Goodbye Farewell" song from "Sound of Music", with guest stars stopping in such as Carol Burnett, Sheryl Crow, and Oprah Winfrey. Billy and Jay reminisced about their early careers in the late 60s and early 70s when they knew each other in the comedy world. They both cited Robert Klein as a big influence and I found that interesting. I guess I never thought about who influenced them as comedians.
And then Jay introduced his final musical guest Garth Brooths, who sang one sad song (The Dance) and one spirited one (Friends in Low Places).
I think Monday or Tuesday's show had a 5-minute clip of highlights from the past 20 years. That was fun. I wish there was an entire show of clips. Like Johnny Carson did on his last show in May 1992. Oh well, there's always YouTube I guess.