UPDATE, 6:33 PM: Jay Leno admitted tonight to the Tonight Show studio audience that he had a “really awkward day.” During today’s taping, the now officially departing late night host addressed NBC’s announcement that Late Night host Jimmy Fallon would be taking over the Tonight Show next year. He also jokingly warned Fallon to watch his back for both NBC and Justin Bieber and took a dig at old rival David Letterman. You can watch video of part of the monologue below but here’s some text excerpts:
Folks, I got to be honest with you, i had a really awkward day today. I had to call David Letterman and tell him he didn’t get the Tonight Show again. Awful! Terrible!
I want to congratulate our good friend Jimmy Fallon! He is a hell of a guy! He’s going to do a great job. I just have one request for Jimmy: we’ve all fought, kicked, and scratched, to get this network up to 5th place, now we have to keep it there! Jimmy, don’t let it slip into 6th! We are counting on you! We’re counting on you Jimmy.
Things move so quickly; Jimmy hasn’t even taken over yet and the rumors have already starting… like NBC says in five years they plan to replace Jimmy with Justin Bieber. They are moving too quickly! Moving too quickly!
Today I accepted a new position; I am going to be the head basketball coach at Rutgers University! Thank you very much!
PREVIOUSLY, 5:51 PM: During the taping of NBC’s Late Night show tonight, newly anointed Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon addressed today’s news that he is taking over for Jay Leno in February 2014. From his opening monologue:
You guys probably heard the news – I’m going to be taking over the Tonight Show next February! But don’t worry. Until February, our focus is right here on whatever this show is called.
I want to thank everyone here at Late Night, the staff, the crew, and of course The Roots. I have to say thanks to Jay Leno for being so gracious. It means so much to me to have his support. I just want to thank the fans for staying up to 12:35am and watching us…”