Jay Leno Congratulates New Tonight Show Host Jimmy Fallon: "He's Going to Do a Great Job"
Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon are continuing to play nice. After NBC announced Wednesday, April 3 that in Spring 2014 Late Night host Fallon will replace Leno as host of The Tonight Show, the two comedians used the opening monologues of their respective currents that same evening to share their thoughts on the news.
Leno, 62, who will have hosted The Tonight Show for 22 years when he retires next year, congratulated Fallon -- but cracked a few jokes at Late Show host David Letterman and NBC's expense. "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," he quipped. "Awful! Terrible!"
Getting a bit more earnest -- but still taking a jab at NBC's struggling ratings -- "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!" he joked. "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," he added. "Like NBC says in five years they plan to replace Jimmy with Justin Bieber. They are moving too quickly! Moving too quickly!"
Concluding his comments on the big transition, Leno shared his future career plans with the audience. "Today I accepted a new position; I am going to be the head basketball coach at Rutgers University!" he joked of the school, which recently fired its coach amid controversy. "Thank you very much!"
Meanwhile, Fallon shared kind words toward Leno during his monologue on Late Night.
"Hello! Welcome! This is Late Night with Jimmy Fallon . . . for now," the 38-year-old comedian began. "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," he joked.
"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," he added. "It means so much to me to have his support. I just want to thank the fans for staying up to 12:35 a.m. and watching us."