TODAY

TODAY   |  February 05, 2014

Jay Leno: ‘I’ve made the right choice’

The comedian sits down with Matt Lauer to chat about leaving behind a legacy as he makes his final appearance as host of the “Tonight Show.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> to talk about history being made in late night television where after 22 years, jay leno 's about to hand over the reins of the " tonight show " to jimmy fallon . for fallon, perhaps the challenge of a lifetime.

>> jimmy fallon is here tonight. jimmy fallon is here. he's not here to talk. he's helping me pack.

>> do you remember the first time, jay, you thought it is possible that i may become the host of the " tonight show "?

>> that was five years ago.

>> the first time.

>> oh, the first time. i thought you said the second time. i'm sorry. cut.

>> " tonight show " with jay leno .

>> i remember when i got the phone call . it was a pretty big moment in my life. it was amazing.

>> what was the phone call like for you?

>> i remember they were going to release a press release at 12:00 noon or something new york time. we're having a monologue meeting with the writers. sitting there, looking at the clock. it hits 12:00 noon and everyone's phone starts vibing. it was exciting.

>> i could not be happier for him, please welcome our good friend, jimmy fallon !

>> and as jimmy prepares to take over on february 17th , jay leno 's 22-year reign as king of late night comes to an end tomorrow.

>> i have made the right choice.

>> did you have a moment when you look back at your time on the " tonight show " and you're going to think, that was the moment i realized it's the best job?

>> probably when the sitting president came on, when barack obama came on, having the actual president of the united states on the show. that was pretty amazing.

>> you told a group of young people that broccoli was your favorite food. now, lying to voters is one thing. lying to children, that's --

>> now on his final week as the " tonight show " host -- thanks for the memories

>> leno has invited back some of his favorite guests to say good-bye.

>> i don't know what we're going to do, what i'm going to do without jay. but jimmy has a lovely warmth about him and just delightful. i've hit on him tonight three times, and i think he's going to be fun to spend some time with.

>> debbie has been jay's producer and close friend for over 20 years.

>> one of the things about jay that people might be surprised about is he's funny on the air, but he's funnier off. and most comfortable probably in his denims and hanging out more so than in the suit and tie and the cameras and stuff.

>> you know, jimmy, jimmy starts the new " tonight show " on the 17th. and it would be a shame if there was some sort of accident he was not able --

>> jay and his crew have been killing it for more than 20 years. so when we come out of the gate, we want to come out fast and hard.

>> jimmy fallon !

>> fast, hard and in it for the long haul.

>> congratulations on the " tonight show ."

>> thanks.

>> seinfeld came up to me at a party and we were talking about this, and he said -- you've got this forever! do you realize that? is that what you want?

>> thank you, jay leno , for carrying on the proud tradition of the " tonight show " host with such humor and class.

>> and looking forward to the new chapter of my life. and i told jay, i gave him a round trip ticket to new york , coach, because he's humble. as many jokes as he'd like.

>> how is that possible? how is that possible?

>> whenever he wants, he's got a stage.

>> jay's last night, tomorrow night, jimmy fallon takes over on the 17th. we wish them both well. they're good guys. back to you in new york .

>> thank you so much. end of an era , start of a new one. hard to believe it's finally happening.

>> i know.

>>> coming up -- don't we like to have a little