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Johnny Carson

Johnny Carson

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For a few moments, it seemed that the white-haired host might not get a chance to start the show.

A rousing ovation accompanied by cheers and whoops from bandleader Kevin Eubanks lasted almost two minutes, and Leno kept pointing to his watch and imploring the audience to sit down, while obviously enjoying the applause.

When he finally started the opening monologue, he made several jokes about changes in the world while he was host: "When I started here, my hair was black and the president was white.

Jon and Kate were both 8." He paid homage to his predecessor, the late Johnny Carson, as he described how his tenure had lasted through four U.S.

presidents ("Two of them, Bill Clinton and George Bush -- thank you so much for that.

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Thank you for those two!") and national tragedies such as 9/11.

He said one of the most important things he learned from Carson was that "you always have to have the monologue ready.

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You always want to have jokes.

That's what we've been trying to do for the last 17 years, make you laugh."

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-leno-finale30-2009may30,0,4996847.story
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