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The True Monologue
Why we'll miss it: We're not going to disagree if you feel like every other late night host does nearly everything else better than Jay Leno, but the Jay Leno "Tonight Show" monologue is still the gold standard. Honed from his years of stand-up comedy, Leno has always had a comfort with the monologue that no other current host in his gig can match. Letterman has always treated the monologue like a necessary evil. Conan has gotten better, but he started off awkward-as-heck. Ferguson and Kimmel are just fine. But even if you don't find Leno's monologue funny -- the punchlines are designed to get easy laughs, not to be picked apart for decades by legal scholars -- you have to admire the sheer middle-of-the-road proficiency and ease he showcases.
- Daniel Fienberg