“The terms of my settlement say that I can’t host another show for seven months,” O’Brien said. “So next week, look forward to the Andy Richter Show with his sidekick, me!”
Jay Leno will be returning next week to host the show.
Oprah Winfrey is interviewing Leno in Los Angeles for her Thursday show and has invited O’Brien to participate. It has not been reported whether he will accept her offer.
“As I set off for exciting new career opportunities, I just want to make one things clear to everyone listening out there: I will do nudity,” he said in his final monologue.
Steve Carell interviewed the exiting host, who then shared a diet cream soda toast with Tom Hanks.
“Yes, we have our differences right now, and yes, we’re going to go our separate ways,” said O’Brien in his address to the network. “But this company has been my home for most of my adult life. I am enormously proud of the work we have done together, and I want to thank NBC for making it all possible. Making this choice has been enormously difficult. This is the best job in the world. I absolutely love doing it and I have the best staff and crew in the history of the medium. But despite this sense of loss, I really feel this should be a happy moment. Every comedian dreams of hosting The Tonight Show and, for seven months, I got to. I did it my way, with people I love, and I do not regret a second. I’ve had more good fortune than anyone I know and if our next gig is doing a show in a 7-11 parking lot, we’ll find a way to make it fun.”
He spent the last moments of the show jamming on the guitar with Will Ferrell taking the lead on “Free Bird.”