From left, Carol Burnett, Sheryl Crow, Jack Black, Chris Paul, Jay Leno, Jim Parsons, Kim Kardashian and Oprah Winfrey perform during the “Farewell Song” on Leno’s final episode of “The Tonight Show,” Thursday.
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On any other night I probably would have said “so long” to Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show” around midnight, shortly after old friend Billy Crystal reminisced about things that probably were more interesting to them than the NBC audience.

But on Leno’s final “Tonight Show” broadcast Thursday, I vowed to stay to the end rather than DVR the last 30 minutes.

And what a payoff.

Finally, Leno got emotional. All through the week, Leno seemed almost embarrassed as Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey, Blake Shelton and others told him how much he meant to them and the nation.

Leno exhibited the New Englander in him, saying a perfunctory you’re special or just thank you.

I figured if he couldn’t get choked up by Bullock’s moving, tearful speech Wednesday that Leno never would.

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