Jay begins with a monologue discussing the economy, California's ban on gay marriage, and a company offering a "cheeseburger in a can." Jay shows a clip of a parody of a YouTube video, in which he and Kevin wear identical sweaters as they play the piano. Jay shows a montage of comedy bits and sketches from the show's 17 years. Jay's first guest when his show debuted in 1992, Billy Crystal, returns and talks about Twitter and texting. A clip of Crystal's 1992 appearance in which he sang a parody of "You Made Me Love You" is shown. Crystal shows a clip of his one-day spring training appearance as a player for the New York Yankees. Crystal, accompanied by pianist Marc Shaiman, performs a musical parody medley tribute to Jay. Musical guest Prince sings "Somewhere Here on Earth" and then presents Jay with a large piece of paper that says "Jay is the best. Even Paul Shafer [sic] knows."
During his monologue, Jay tells a series of short jokes about the economy and explains that they are a tribute to Rodney Dangerfield's comedy style, then shows a clip of Dangerfield. Jay announces a new segment called "White Trash Theater" and shows a clip of a woman hitting a man with a garbage can. Jay shows a montage of clips from the "Jaywalking" segment and then clips from "Battle of the Jaywalk All-Stars." Conan O'Brien, the incoming host of "The Tonight Show," talks about when he was first hired to host "Late Night" in 1993, and a clip is shown of his first being introduced on "The Tonight Show." O'Brien talks about his experience dealing with the network in planning the new "Tonight Show." Jay wishes O'Brien good luck. Jay reminisces about hearing the lyric "Ten miles behind me and ten thousand more to go" when he was first leaving Boston to come to California to pursue his career, and introduces James Taylor, who performs "Sweet Baby James," the song from which that lyric comes. Jay thanks, among others, the audience, his producers, his writers, the director, the crew, NBC executives, Kevin Eubanks and the band, John Melendez, his wife Mavis, and the union members on the show staff. Jay mentions all the "Tonight Show" staff members who married other staff members, and then reveals a large group of staff members' children. He announces that 68 children have been born to the staff members. Photographs of the staff and crew are shown as the full credits roll.
It's Kevin Eubanks' last episode of "The Tonight Show" after working with Jay for 18 years, as well as being the last episode for the current band. Near the end of the monologue segment, Kevin introduces the band members. The second segment of the show features a montage of comedic moments featuring Kevin from throughout his years on the show. In the final segment, Kevin performs an original song. Also appearing are guests Colin Farrell (from "Ondine") and Elisabeth Moss (from "Get Him to the Greek").
Guests are Joel McHale from "Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D," Viola Davis from "The Help," and singer Ximena Sariñana. In the "Woulda Coulda Shoulda" segment, Ross Mathews, Rove McManus, and Jim Norton discuss unusual news stories and what the persons involved would have, could have, and should have done.
The Thanksgiving Eve show has an all-military audience representing all five branches of the service. For the "Ask Jay Anything" segment, Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi appears via satellite, Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel show up to hug servicemembers, and William Shatner sings a song paying tribute to all five branches. Guests are Whitney Cummings (replacing Chelsea Handler, who was ill) and basketball star Dwight Howard, with country band Gloriana as the musical guest.
By Chris Malmin:
Mock commercial for "Kennedy Wear". A young Kennedy (Christian Malmin) is in bed with a woman. The sound of a car pulls up and she exclaims, "It's my husband!". The young Kennedy jumps out of the bed, quickly gets into a one-piece, jumpsuit type garment which is a shirt, belt and slacks sewn together closing in the center by Velcro. He gives a "thumbs up" to camera and then dives out an open window. "Kennedy Wear!"
Full list of actors of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: