Nellie Andreeva

schwarzennegerlenoThere are few other celebrities that are more closely associated with The Tonight Show With Jay Leno than Arnold Schwarzenegger. One of Leno’s favorite guests, Schwarzenegger visited the show a whopping 27 times. He even broke every rule in politics by announcing his run for Governor of California on Leno’s late-night talker. Schwarzenegger’s loyalty to Leno went beyond The Tonight Show — he also guested twice on Leno’s short-lived primetime NBC talk show. From 1985-91, Schwarzenegger frequented NBC’s Late Night With David Letterman, making three appearances there before Leno took over The Tonight Show. It’s been all-Leno since — 29 visits with him vs. one each on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, Late Night With Conan O’Brien when it visited Los Angeles, Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Daily Show zero on David Letterman’s CBS show, O’Brien’s Tonight Show or CBS’ Craig Ferguson.

With Leno gone, Schwarzenegger was up for grabs, especially with The Tonight Show moving to New York. Schwarzenegger is the quintessential Californian, from his humble immigrant beginnings as a bodybuilder on Venice Beach to becoming a Hollywood star to serving as Governor of California. With Leno gone, Kimmel, whom Schwarzenegger visited five years ago, became the top late-night draw in Los Angeles. But in his first late-night appearance following Leno’s departure, Leno stuck with The Tonight Show, in its new New York locale and with its new host, Fallon. That is a pretty big coup for the show and another sign of continuity between the two hosts. In his first visit to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last night, Schwarzenegger did what most celebrities do on Fallon’s late-night show — participate in a Saturday Night Live-style skit. The action star played himself as a guest on a QVC show, dropping some of his most famous movie lines, Get To The Chopper! (Predator) and I’ll be back! (Terminator), while hawking small kitchen appliances. Here is the video:

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