Late-night king Jay Leno led off his “Tonight Show” monologue Wednesday night with a series of jokes about the stunning announcement earlier in the day that he’s agreed to give up the show next year.
“Folks, I got to be honest with you,” Leno, 62, said at the outset of the monologue. “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!”
It was the first of four monologue jokes Leno delivered in succession to address the day’s big late-night news. A transcript of Leno’s Wednesday monologue was obtained by XfinityTV several hours before the show aired at 11:35 p.m. eastern time.
“I want to congratulate our good friend, Jimmy Fallon,” Jay said, setting up the second joke. “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 fifth place. Now we have to keep it there! Jimmy, don’t let it slip into sixth! We are counting on you! We’re counting on you, Jimmy!”
“Things move so quickly,” Jay said, delivering joke No. 3. “Jimmy hasn’t even take over yet and the rumors have already started. Like, NBC says in five years they plan to replace Jimmy with Justin Bieber! They are moving too quickly! Moving too quickly!”
And finally, before moving on to other subjects in the news, Jay said, “Today I accepted a new position. I am going to be the head basketball coach at Rutgers University! Thank you very much!”
Fallon, 38, will take over “The Tonight Show” in summer 2014. NBC also confirmed that the show will be moving from California to New York.