Conan O'Brien, Late Night with Conan O'Brien

Dana Edelson/NBC

No. 2,725 and no more counting.

After 16 years, the prominently coiffed, long-limbed host of NBC's Late Night With Conan O'Brien bid farewell Friday with a star-studded and signaturely side-splitting finale— which was really only a temporary goodbye, considering he'll emerge from hibernation June 1 in Los Angeles as host of the Tonight Show.

But it was the end of an era just the same. We doubt Jay Leno will be hacking his set to pieces with an ax during his final week.

In addition to dismantling his surroundings, O'Brien has spent the last four nights looking back at some of the show's funniest moments—his trip to Finland, where he resembles the female president; picking apples with Mr. T; the most jaw-dropping Walker, Texas Ranger clip ever—and traded quips with scheduled and surprise guests like Jerry Seinfeld, Martha Stewart, Will Arnett, Bob Saget, Nathan Lane, Stephen Colbert and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Friday brought out even more big guns, including John Mayer, Will Ferrell and the first performance by the White Stripes since 2007. Andy Richter, O'Brien's Ed McMahon until 2000, also stopped by for an extended trip down memory lane.

The parade of bits and fond reminiscences kicked off right after O'Brien's final jump and invisible-string-assisted hip shake.

"I used to live in NYC, now I'm as douchey as a man can be...L.A. is gonna eat you alive," Mayer sang to O'Brien in a stirring video tribute.

Ferrell, who's reprising his SNL George W. Bush in a one-man show on Broadway, not far from Late Night's 30 Rockefeller Plaza studio, showed up in character to thank Conan for "16 years of humortastical wonderment," before breaking into the "degrading, humiliating" leprechaun striptease O'Brien was mock-hoping to avoid.

But the best part of tonight was really the clips, which included Conan's trip to a Long Island baseball field where men were playing 1800s-era baseball; a naked Richter strolling onto the Today set, believing it was a Turkish spa; Conan's visit to an actual day spa; Conan suiting up for speed-skating; and the Harvard grad proving to Jennifer Garner that snuck is a word.

Amid the laughter, O'Brien did take time out to express his earnest appreciation to the fans.

"There are people that have hosted these kinds of shows who are better than I am," he said. "Nobody has ever enjoyed it more than I do. It's an incredible, amazing honor to do this show for you people."

"I want to say something about—we're going on to this next gig, and sometimes I read that it's time for Conan to grow up because he's going to 11:30," he continued. "And I assure you, that's just not going to happen. I can't. This is who I am, for better or for worse."

Not bad for a guy who, in a recent New York Times interview, compared his taking over NBC's 12:30 a.m. spot from David Letterman 16 years ago to, well...

"Following him was like Ted WIlliams departed the field and a fetus ran out in a ball cap."

Yup, Jimmy Fallon's got some enormous shoes to fill.

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