Months ago we reported on speculation that Jay Leno’s long suffering sidekick Kevin Eubanks was ready to leave “The Tonight Show.” This was during the peak of the heated late night debacle that was going on between NBC, Leno, and Conan O’Brien so we weren’t sure if he was just feeling the pressure or really ready to make a career change. Last night we got our answer when he announced on the show that after 18 years he’s jumping ship.

Eubanks told Leno during a taping of “The Tonight Show” that he was ready to switch it up and move on to other things. Leno formally interviewed the bandleader regarding his decision after he wrapped up the “Headlines” section of the show. When Eubanks hit the couch here’s what he had to say.

“After 18 years, I just need a change of pace and see what else is going on,” Eubanks said. ” But it’s a really difficult decision because this has become my second home, as it has been for the band, and I love the audience and the American people really love the show and it’s been a wonderful experience to be here.”

Leno then went on to say some kind words regarding their personal relationship stating, “You’ve been a great friend and really supportive. When those jokes die, I gotta look to you man.”

Eubanks didn’t disclose what his future plans were besides going somewhere where he can actually finish a song. That being said, he might have gotten jaded by the events that have occurred over the past few months and realized that his job isn’t fun anymore. There’s a certain stigma attached to Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show” and he might not want to be associated with it.

Either way, his official last day is May 28th so get your tissues ready because we’re sure they’re going to do several sappy montages of the good times and the bad times and by bad I mean when Leno’s jokes fell completely flat and Eubanks had to save him with a charitable chuckle.

Why do you think Kevin Eubanks has decided to leave “The Tonight Show?” Will you watch his final episode?

Source: EW, USA Today