Feb. 8, 2014 at 2:12 AM ET
Jay Leno had Garth Brooks sing on his final "Tonight Show" Thursday. On Friday, Jimmy Fallon opened his last "Late Night" show jamming with Buckwheat Zydeco and closed it singing with The Muppets – a stark reminder of the different tastes the new host will bring to the 11:30 p.m. time slot on Feb. 17.
But Fallon's final "Late Night" wasn't about the guests. It was about looking back at the past 969 "Late Night" episodes that he hosted, speaking with reverence about his new assignment and – mostly – trying not to cry.
"I'm really gonna miss being on TV at 12:37, especially in this battle for late-night ratings with my fierce rivals Craig Ferguson and a vegi-chopper infomercial," Fallon said at the start of his monologue.
He talked about the more than 10,000 jokes he claims he's told. "The best way I can summarize those jokes is that Joe Biden needed Obamacare after Anthony Weiner texted Justin Bieber a picture of Chris Christie texting a Kardashian on the Jersey Shore," Fallon said.
Fallon was obviously choked up throughout the monologue, and it was harder to him to keep his composure once he sat down.
"I'm not gonna cry, but I'm getting really close. Because we're not going anywhere – we're just going to the Tonight Show," he said. Then he had the cameras cut away briefly to give himself a second to regain his bearings.
Fortunately, plenty of folks were ready to give him taped advice on how to succeed in his new job.
"You get a lot more ratings if you wear less clothes," Miley Cyrus said.
After a last round of Thank You Notes, it was time for Andy Samberg. Fallon's final guest had one message.
"I just wanna personally say to you … you gotta pull it together man," Samberg said.
"I'm just a mush. An Irish mush," Fallon apologized.
After a round of bloopers, it was time for that final jam with The Muppets. And after "The Weight" had finished, Fallon walked off the stage, through the exit doors and across the hall to the new studio, with "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" already on the doors.