Conan O'Brien thanks fans in "Tonight" farewell

Sat Jan 23, 2010 7:27am EST
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By Chris Michaud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Conan O'Brien ended his brief stint as host of the "The Tonight Show" on Friday, taking shots at NBC but ultimately taking the high road and thanking his former employer for a chance at "the best job in the world."

"This company has been my home for most of my adult life," O'Brien told the Burbank, California, audience and home viewers during his final moments on the show, which began with a sustained standing ovation from the fans who chanted "Conan, Conan."

"Thank you, that's going to have to last me awhile," he cracked once they settled down."

Late in the show the host struck a more serious note, saying "Tonight I'm allowed to say anything I want."

"I am enormously proud of the work we have done together, and I want to thank NBC for making it all possible," he said.

Still, in his opening monologue O'Brien offered a list of possible uses for the soon-to-be vacated studio built expressly for his widely publicized assumption of "Tonight Show" hosting duties last year.

Among the suggestions were a "storage facility for apology notes to NBC stockholders," and "leave the studio cold and empty and rename it "The World's Largest Metaphor For NBC Programming."

Joining O'Brien for his last show were actor Tom Hanks, comedian Will Ferrell who appeared on O'Brien's first "Tonight" show, and singer Neil Young, who performed "Long May You Run."   Continued...