Arsenio Calls Leno ‘Michael Jordan of Late Night’ – and Questions His Forced Retirement (Video)

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The most heartfelt of the late-night tributes

Arsenio Hall is the rare late-night rival of Jay Leno‘s who has never had issues with him — so it’s no surprise his goodbye to the “Tonight Show” host was the most heartfelt.

Hall praised Leno as the “Michael Jordan of late night,” and wondered why NBC was retiring him early. When Hall returned to late night last year, Leno joined him on his first episode.

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“I can’t believe he’s going, because he’s the crazy thing. Forget everything you’ve heard. He’s number one. They’re getting rid of the number one guy. It shows that the business is really changing,” Hall said.

“That’s like Michael Jordan — He’s the Michael Jordan of late night. That’s like somebody saying, ‘Hey Mike. Put your tongue back in your mouth and get out of here. It’s pretty crazy. But, we love him.”

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He then asked his audience members to applaud “the living legend of late night,” which they did.

On Wednesday, Hall dropped by “The Tonight Show” to help Leno adjust to his new spare time. He presented him a book: The Arsenio Hall Zagat Guide to Sittin’ Your Ass Down.

Also read: 9 of Jay Leno’s Greatest Hits From His ‘Tonight Show’ Run

Hall ended his show Thursday by telling Leno again, “We love you, dog.” He also played a clip of Leno’s appearance on his premiere episode.

Watch the video: