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January 24th, 2005

Thanks, Johnny

Almost five years ago (!), I wrote asking where Johnny Carson had gone. After he left The Tonight Show he was to participate in some network specials for NBC… but they never happened. Just last week it was revealed that he’d been slipping some jokes to Letterman.

And just like that, Johnny is gone.

The very first time I watched a late night program, ever, I was really curious. I’d usually see the weather on the 10 o’clock news, and then go to sleep or do something else. But I decided one night to watch Carson. I loved the monologue. And then Dana Carvey came on as his guest, and I was in stitches. I had to stifle my laughter so I wouldn’t wake up my parents or sister. Both Carson and Carvey were on – and absolutely fantastic. I thought, “Could it be this good every night?” and the answer was pretty much “Yes.”

Through Carson I learned of Letterman, and started watching him too – and liked his humor even more. I followed him to CBS, and watched Carson through the end. He went out on top and, honestly, I respect his choice to lead a quiet life after the show ended.

Johnny’s warm and subtle brand of humor and his subtle delivery has yet to be matched, and may never be. He truly was one of the greats. Thanks for the funny, Johnny.

Posted in Television, Movies, and Music

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday January 24, 2005 -- 10:25:36 am
The master is gone.

It's amazing to think of all the talk show hosts who thought they had what it took to knock Johnny off his pedistal, yet always seemed to fall short. Even Arsenio fell after he was no longer a novelty item.

The man, even on his bad nights, could make magic out of the guests and turn bad jokes into insane giggling. Carnac, The Mighty Carson Art Players, The Art Fern Tea Time Movie....heck, a simple night of the audience playing "Stump the Band" could enliven even the most boring show. (Where is Doc Severinsen?)

As good as Letterman, O'Brien, and (sometimes) Leno can be, there will never be another Johnny Carson. He is already truly missed.

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