Mark Evanier preferred Leno’s tribute Letterman’s. This is the first time in a decade I’ve watched Leno and was probably the last time ever. I used to love his standup but now find him unwatchable. I think his Tonight Show is a sad shell of what Carson’s was.
Jay’s elegiac monologue was to go out and talk about Johnny, and Dave’s monologue was to do a bunch of jokes that Johnny had written for him in his last days. I can tell you which I found a better tribute. I also noticed that the Leno show was mostly about the outer surface Carson and Letterman’s was about the inner. I thought Peter Lasally was far better spoken and more interesting and a better honor than the Bob Newhart and Don Rickles combo (no disrepect to them.) Granted, Leno’s show only had one day to pull it all together while the vacation schecule meant that Letterman’s show had a week. Still, this reinforced what I’ve always thought, that Letterman rather than Leno is a better spiritual heir to Johnny’s mantle.