After a 22-year run, mostly spent atop the ratings, an emotional Jay Leno bid farewell to "The Tonight Show" for a second and final time Thursday night.

"I don't like goodbyes. NBC does," he said following an extended ovation. "... Tonight is our last show for real. See, I don't need to get fired three times. I get the hint."

Here are the five best moments from Leno's last stand:

  • THE FINAL MONOLOGUE: Staying true to form, Leno unleashed a barrage of jokes and one-liners to start off the show. But instead of concentrating on the news of the day, he mainly focused on his imminent departure.

    "It's kind of like graduating from high school," he said. "A high school for really stupid people who have been in the same class for 22 years."

    He went on to say that the outpouring from fans has been "really touching." For example, "Today, Anthony Weiner sent me a photo of his penis looking sad."

    The worst part about losing the job? "I'm no longer covered by NBC. Now I have to sign up for Obamacare."

  • LOOKING AHEAD: A pretaped video segment called "What's Next For Jay?" had celebrities, including Bob Costas, Miley Cyrus, Charlie Sheen, Kevin Hart, Matt Damon and others giving Leno advice on his next career moves.

    President Obama noted that, "You've made a lot of jokes about me over the years. But do not worry, I'm not upset. ... On a totally unrelated note, I've decided to make you my new ambassador to Antarctica. Hope you've got a warm coat, funny man!"


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    But it was a sexed-up Martha Stewart who drew the biggest laughs, when she suggested that, if Leno ever gets a "one-time hall pass" from his marriage, "I'm your girl." As added enticement, she showed off what she planned to wear: A bikini made entirely of bacon. (Or a ba-kini).

  • SURPRISE MUSICAL GUESTS: As promised, Billy Crystal, who was Leno's first guest on May 25, 1992, was also his final one. The two men chatted about their long-running friendship and their early days in comedy on the East Coast (Leno's apartment was a "bomb site," Crystal cracked).

    But then Crystal pulled a surprise, playing ringmaster for an amusing "Sound of Music" parody that featured Jack Black, Kim Kardashian, NBA star Chris Paul, Sheryl Crow, Jim Parsons, Carol Burnett and Oprah Winfrey.

    "So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye. If Fallon tanks, you'll be back here next year," sang Black. Added Kardashian, "Last night, I told my folks now I won't be the butt of Leno's jokes."

    Parsons noted that Leno's success was due to the "Big chin theory." Burnett did her famous Tarzan yell, and Oprah wailed, "So long farewell, you really raised the bar. If you were me, you'd buy them all a car!"

  • COUNTRY SUPERSTAR: Garth Brooks, a regular "Tonight Show" guest, dropped by to provide his own musical tribute. After calling Leno "the dearest friend to entertainers," he sang one of Leno's favorite songs, a touching ballad called "The Dance."

    Brooks later closed out the show with the livelier "Friends in Low Places," leading the audience in rhythmic applause.

  • THE TEARY FAREWELL: Perched at his desk one final time, Leno's eyes became moist and his voice quivered as he proclaimed himself "the luckiest guy in the world."

    "I got to meet presidents and astronauts and movie stars. It's just been incredible," he said, struggling to choke the words out. "... I worked with all kinds of talented people who made me look a lot smarter than I really am."

    Then, he intimately recalled how he'd lost his mother the first year of his "Tonight" tenure, his dad the second and then his brother.

    "And after that I was pretty much out of family. And the folks here became my family," he said of the show's staff.

    Finally, he admitted that it "really is time to go and hand it off to the next guy (Jimmy Fallon)," before channeling Johnny Carson's words during his final "Tonight" appearance.

    "I bid you all a heartfelt good night."

    Contact Chuck Barney at Facebook.com/BayAreaNewsGroup.ChuckBarney, or Twitter.com/chuckbarney