Call him whatever you’d like. Say he stole desk that should have belonged to Conan O’Brien and David Letterman. Tell tales of how his warehouse of luxury and classic cars makes you think he’ll turn into a recluse someday. Whatever you say, you should say it now because Jay Leno, one of the biggest comedians to still hold court on late night television, is leaving; and its the A.V. Club’s claim that pop culture and viewers continue to celebrate Leno for reasons that don’t quite meet the eye.

“How, exactly, did someone as awful as Leno survive for nearly 22 years on television’s premier late-night talk show? And how did he not only survive—how did he thrive?”

At least that’s what we took away from Matt Wild’s long form piece Jay Leno was good at being bad.It’s Wild’s belief that Jay Leno owes his late night dominance to his work ethic and showmanship and not his jokes. We think how Wild comes to that conclusion will be of some interest to anyone who’s mildly interested in television personalities or just the inner workings of media in general.

Jay Leno officially retires from The Tonight Show for the second time following NBC’s first airing of the 2014 Sochi Olympics at 11:30pm EST. Whether he’ll do one last segment of “Jay Walking,” chuckle and ask us “Have we heard about what’s going on in Congress…” remains unclear.

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