Jay Leno is happy to pass the “Tonight Show” baton to fellow comedian Jimmy Fallon on March 1st, but he wasn't so thrilled back in 2009 when he was forced to give up his post to Conan O’Brien.
The 63-year-old reveals he was “blindsided” when asked to leave the desk he had occupied for 17 years.
“[NBC executives said] 'You're out…' and I went, 'OK,'” the host shares of the controversial decision.
He even compared the feeling to being dumped by a girlfriend. ''You know, you have a girl [who] says, 'I don't want to see you any more.' 'Why?' 'You know, she doesn't want to see you any more, OK?’”
What upset the legendary comedian most, however, was being deemed a villain when NBC asked him back as host after O’Brien failed to bring in good ratings.
''I didn't quite understand that,” Leno admits in an interview with “60 Minutes,” “but I never chose to answer any of those things or make fun of any other people involved, it's not my way.''
When the actor officially leaves behind “The Tonight Show” in the coming weeks, NBC hopes to keep him on the network in some capacity, possibly as host for regular specials.
One person who definitely wants the best for the grey-haired celeb? His successor, Jimmy Fallon.
"He's a good guy, he's really treated me well," Fallon says of Leno.
Leno with "Tonight Show" successor Jimmy Fallon