McCain bids farewell to Leno ahead of last show

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) visits the Tonight Show in 2002 Getty Images

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Thursday bade farewell to late night host Jay Leno, who has made more than 400 jokes at the senator’s expense over the years. 

McCain called Leno one of the greatest entertainers of his generation ahead of the host’s final “Tonight Show” on Thursday, saying comedian Jimmy Fallon will have big shoes to fill. 

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“I always greatly enjoyed the honor of joining Jay in Burbank, despite a recent study that found he made 426 jokes at my expense over the years!” McCain said in a statement. 

McCain was the ninth most joked about politician in Leno’s 22-year career, according to a study released Tuesday by George Mason University’s Center for Media and Public Affairs. 

The host made 426 jokes about the senator and former presidential candidate. Democrats receive Leno’s treatment 15 percent more than their Republican counterparts, with Bill Clinton ranking No. 1. 

“He’s left big shoes to fill for his successor, Jimmy Fallon, as Johnny Carson did for Jay,” he said. “I'm sure we’ll see much of him after his final show tonight.”

McCain last appeared on the show in January, when he talked about 2016 presidential prospects. Leno’s retirement comes as McCain is also deciding whether to retire or run for another term in 2016.