Before we end this rodeo, a few things need to be said. There has been a lot of speculation in the press about what I legally can and can’t say about NBC. To set the record straight, tonight I am allowed to say anything I want. And what I want to say is this: between my time at Saturday Night Live, the Late Night show, and my brief run here on The Tonight Show, I have worked with NBC for over 20 years. Yes, we have our differences right now and yes, we’re going to go our separate ways. But this company has been my home for most of my adult life. I am enormously proud of the work we have done together, and I want to thank NBC for making it all possible.
Walking away from The Tonight Show is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Making this choice has been enormously difficult. This is the best job in the world, I absolutely love doing it, and I have the best staff and crew in the history of the medium. But despite this sense of loss, I really feel this should be a happy moment. Every comedian dreams of hosting The Tonight Show and, for seven months, I got to. I did it my way, with people I love, and I do not regret a second. I’ve had more good fortune than anyone I know and if our next gig is doing a show in a 7-Eleven parking lot, we’ll find a way to make it fun.
And finally, I have to say something to our fans. The massive outpouring of support and passion from so many people has been overwhelming. The rallies, the signs, all the goofy, outrageous creativity on the Internet, and the fact that people have traveled long distances and camped out all night in the pouring rain to be in our audience, made a sad situation joyous and inspirational.
To all the people watching, I can never thank you enough for your kindness to me and I’ll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask of you is one thing: please don’t be cynical. I hate cynicism — it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen. As proof, let’s make an amazing thing happen right now.
In my mind, this is my dad’s “favorite song.” He may not be able to identify a single Genesis song now and probably wouldn’t admit to ever having enjoyed Phil Collins, but I distinctly remember us listening to this song, seeing the video (where, I have no idea, since we didn’t get MTV until the late 90s) and my mom telling me that “That’s All” was my dad’s favorite song. When I try to tell the story as an adult, I can never remember the name of the song but can remember the video, “you know, the one where they’re all in a basement or a warehouse or something, and it’s cold, and they’re all sort of dirty, like chimney sweeps or hobos maybe?”
“That’s All” came out in 1983 and was a top ten hit in early 1984, and since I was born in late 1981, I guess that 1984 must have been about the time I was first conscious of music that wasn’t on a cartoon. Later that year I got really into Karma Chameleon, which my dad would probably tell you is my “favorite song.”
'that's all' is my favorite genesis song, easily. though i hadn't seen the hobo video until now. i've also just been reminded of my own youthful obsession with 'karma chameleon,' during which time i would sing along to a 45 record of the song on my toy turntable, especially whenever my parents would have company over.
eventually i got over it, but by that time i was 15 and the damage was done.