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Johnny Carson’s departure from the “Tonight” show was an abdication. Jay Leno’s last show, on Thursday, was closer to a retirement party — a bittersweet send-off for a loyal executive pushed out after 22 years. “It’s fun to kind of be the old guy and sit back here and see where the next generation takes this great institution,” Mr. Leno said about his successor, Jimmy Fallon. More gamely than convincingly, he added, “But it really is time to go and hand it off to the next guy, it really is.”

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