To little fanfare, the Jay Leno Show aired its final episode on Tuesday night. The prime time host will move back to 11:35 p.m. and retake his throne at the Tonight Show. By most accounts, the episode was a mirthless affair, which Leno seemed to willingly acknowledge. "It seems like just yesterday I was telling NBC this wouldn't work" Leno quipped. TV critics heartily agree. Entertainment Weekly reporter Ken Tucker's headline read: "The last 'Jay Leno Show': I watched it, so you didn't have to."
Boring Host, writes Matthew Gilbert of The Boston Globe: "Last night, Jay Leno said farewell to his short-lived “Jay Leno Show’’ with all the momentousness of a guy taking out the trash.He tied up the bag and carried it to the curb, leaving it there for the ever-rushing stream of pop culture to carry it far, far away. He almost seemed to be squeezing his nostrils with his free hand." The WSJ adds: "Here’s how disposable the last 'Jay Leno Show' was: even Jay Leno seemed glad to see it go."
- Boring Guests, writes The Wall Street Journal staff: "Leno’s last show featured Ashton Kutcher, Gabourey Sidibe and Bob Costas. That means Leno’s Super Bowl ad had more interesting guests than he had on his final program."
- Boring Half Hour, writes Ken Tucker at Entertainment Weekly: "The only semi-spontaneous moment seemed to occur at the very start, when a man in a black leather jacket lingered in front of Leno as he did his usual opening meet-’n'-greet with audience members, and said something in Leno’s ear. Who knows what he said? It may have been funnier than the hour that followed."
- Wholly Uninspired, writes Robert Lloyd at The LA Times: "Leno is a fundamentally conservative entertainer who relies heavily on his writers and researchers; he can tell a joke, can be funny in a scripted bit, and can capably interview any celebrity who already knows what he or she is going to say. He is a solid enough host, practically speaking, but he is also an inert one, unable to inhabit the moment in any exciting way. He barely bothers to ad lib."