“It’s fun to kind of be the old guy and sit back here and see where the next generation takes this great institution,” Mr. Leno said about his successor, Jimmy Fallon. More gamely than convincingly, he added, “But it really is time to go and hand it off to the next guy, it really is.”



A farewell tribute on television has its advantages: the honoree gets to listen in on eulogies and witness a preview of the funeral. But there is also a cost: Mr. Leno will be around the next day to see how quickly the mourners mop their tears and the cortege moves on.

That’s perhaps why he chose to quote his predecessor Johnny Carson, who left his audience with the words, “I bid you all a heartfelt goodnight.” It’s not as unnervingly final as goodbye. 

By ALESSANDRA STANLEY February 7, 2014 The New York Times