On November 6, Ellen DeGeneres made her final trip to “The Tonight Show” to say her goodbyes to host Jay Leno, who will be retiring in 2014. The interview with DeGeneres, the host of her very own Emmy-winning, daytime talk-show “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” marked the actress-comedian’s thirty-fourth appearance on the show.
DeGeneres, who made headlines when she came out during the fourth season of “Ellen” back in 1997, gifted Leno with a denim Snuggie as a going-away present and ended the interview with a big kiss—a nod to the 1997 interview where, shortly after coming out, Ellen planted a smooch on the host to demonstrate that a kiss was just a kiss.
“You were so supportive all the time,” she said to Leno.
DeGeneres, a Louisiana native who rose to prominence with the popular “Ellen” sitcom (which ran from 1994 to 1998) has also worked on Andrew Stanton’s animated “Finding Nemo” film and will be the lead character in its “Finding Dory” sequel, which is due in theaters in 2016.
Leno—who was reportedly offered approximately $15 million from NBC to leave the show prior to the September 2014 expiration date of his contract—has been the host of the late-night hit since 1997, with a relatively brief hiatus from May 2009 to March 2010. During that time, Conan O’ Brien served as the show’s host.
In an effort to revamp its late-night programming, NBC will replace Leno with Jimmy Fallon, whom Leno jokingly told to increase the length of his monologues in order to develop a deeper engagement with the audience at his new home.