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January 23, 2005


I was lucky enough to be on Johnny Carson's show a couple of times in the eighties, hustling silly books. In fact, the first time I was ever on any TV show, it was the Tonight Show. It went pretty well, and when it was over I thought, "Wow, this is easy!"

At the time I didn't realize that the reason it seemed easy was that I was being interviewed by the absolute master humor interviewer, a guy with the generosity to make you, his guest, look good, and the skill to set you up perfectly, so you really couldn't help but get the laugh.

I was promoting a book about do-it-yourself home repair, and during the commercial break, Carson leaned over to me and said: "I used to try to do do-it-yourself projects. (Perfectly timed pause.) You can't do shit yourself."


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Pure Johnny ...

tnx Dave

The only real memories I have of Carson- my memory cuts out at anything before Leno and O.J.- are from those infomercials promoting anthology tapes of the Tonight Show. From what I've seen, boy did I miss a lot. That's probably why the only part that hit me when I heard he died was "Wait, wasn't he just fine a few days ago?" My mom, who did remember Johnny, though- hit her like a ton of bricks.

I never try to be first on this blog - too many masters at the game. But here I am, first(!) what has really touched me is how Johnny Carson apparently affected so many people from so many "walks of life", and they have been commenting on how sad ihis death makes them. Whether he was part of your adulthood, or one'd childhood, growing into adulthood, it was always very special to be able to see Johnny carson. One great comment I read, and that I agree with is that one of the times he was at his best was when a joke failed; his ability to ad lib was so masterful then....

Guess I wasn't first after all It's that wonderful blog clock again.....

One aspect of Johnny's career ... and I recall times before he was on the Tonight Show -- yes, I'm that old ... that always struck me as particularly important or influential, is that throughout our American daily life, hardly a conversation anywhere was complete without the comment/question "did you hear what Johnny said about _______?" included somewhere in the exchange ... Truly, he was an icon of more than one generation, and his impact on our society is evident in many ways we probably do not realize ...

I will never forget the first time I saw the Tonight Show. I was in Junior High and sneaked out to the living room at night to watch T.V. I laughed so hard that I almost got caught. Since Jay Leno has been hosting it just hasn't been the same. Don't get me wrong Jay is very funny. But The Tonight Show will always belong to Johnny.
The world is a sadder place without him.

I grow up watching Johnny Carson. He was great and he was just what this country needed at the time - a funny guy with some moral values and great timing.

Besides, we were all pretty sick and tired of watching Ed Sullivan and his plate-spinners, the Flying YingYang brothers and Topo-Gigio.

I have a sneaking suspicion that last week's "leak" about his submitting jokes to Letterman was because he was getting close to the end.

He said he had been in more bedrooms in America -than any other man....I wonder how many of our Gen X bloglits were conceived with the Tonight Show in the background?

My favorite Carson bit (apologies to those bloglits who have already read this):

Carnak: Sis. Boom. Bah.

Ed: Sis Boom Bah.

Carnak: (says something about a camel impregnating Ed's sister, opens envelope and reads) Describe the sound of an exploding sheep.

sly -

My favorite Carnakism may not have been a 100% genuine stolen from the Carson show, but it came on a birthday card a friend sent to me, long, long ago.

Carnak: A 1964 Dodge, a day-old pastry, and you.

Open: Name an old Dart, an old tart and an old fart.

Yes, Jeff, I recall Johnny back then ... we din't get that channel very well in those days, but saw the show once in awhile, and my CA cousins talked about it ...

I remember some other stuff Johnny did in the late '50s, one commercial spoof (among others) in particular ...

He's got his back to the camera, wearing a hard hat, looking like a construction worker ...

Voice over (imitating a current tv commercial style - Marlboros? Winstons?) talks about a Real Man, and his selection of a smoke ... paraphrase as best as I can remember ...
"Tell us sir, what does a real man like you smoke?

Johnny turns around, and in a high, breathy - almost squeaky voice, says
"Well, all us guys here at the site ..."

It was pretty hilarious -- and daring -- at the time, taking on big ADV bucks as well as skating very close to the edge of acceptable (for the time) references to anything but two separate and very specific genders ... it never really hinted at homosexuality, but the implication was that the character wasn't a Real Man because he didn't have a deep/hoarse/strong voice ...

Man...I've missed out on a great man. All because my parents conceived me a few years too late. I guess now St. Peter is the one saying "Heeeeere's Johnny!"

Rosa -

nice thought, Rosa, and nice imagery ... tnx4 that


Larry King just finished a show with Carl Reiner, Joan Rivers and others talking about Johnny and showing lots of clips - I believe it will be repeated at 9pm west coast and midnight east coast, and he said tomorrow night Ed McMahan would be on, which I think will be great!

That is all.

Johnny was not the first--but he perfected the whole host, desk, and couch format and made it so good that everyone still uses it. The likes of Leno, Letterman, Conan, Jon Stewart and even fictional hosts like Larry Sanders and --oh yeah, Martin Mull in Fernwood Tonight--couldn't improve it.

During Johnny's reign you could always count on going to sleep with a smile on your lips. He was never not funny because even his reaction to bombed jokes was funny.

He never used bad language. Didn't need to. All he had to do was arch an eyebrow, purse his lips, or do a trademark double-take and your imagination would supply the rest.

I like his successors, including Leno and Letterman, although I don't bother to watch very often. But they don't come close to Johnny in my heart.

Yes Jeff, it was the hash! On TV somewhere, they showed the Tiny Tim wedding (a clip) - where's the hash when you need it???

Oh, for the good old days...or so I've read!

My Johnny Carson story: (rated R)
My then boyfriend and I were away on a vacation, and we were watching Tv and getting ready to ...well, you know.. and Johnny Carson came on, and boyfriend said, "Let's wait until after the monologue!"

That is all.
RIP, Johnny.

That's a great story, Dave, and thanks for it. (That experience must have been during your House of Spackle period.) Even to mere viewers Johnny Carson came off of as a genuine guy and a fantastic humorist, no doubt because he was just that. Lucky you to have met him. I read that he was still sending jokes for Letterman to use now and then, and for lack of better words, I think that's so cool.

Priceless, El.

At 8pm west coast, 11pm east, CNN is having a one hour Johnny Carson progr am.

Resume posting.

I'd guess that more than one session of ... whatever ... was postponed over the years, to wait for Johnny to finish the monologue ... I can think of once or twice myself ...

and ...

... I'd guess there will be another series of postponments tonight during the retrospectives ... probably by a lot of the same people ... whether their current roommates are the same or not ...

i'd pay money for a tape of dave on the carson show ;)

he (johnny) was classic... always funny... way more important than anyone can ever be. i liked letterman from the beginning and got a bit turned off with johnny towards the end, because letterman was so biting and johnny so sweet... but it's just undeniable that he was fabulous. my absolute favorite shows were the ones with the animals.

especially when he was 90 minutes, but even when he was an hour, Johnny would actually talk to the guests, with Leno and Letterman ,(esp. Dave) there are so many incidental sketches, and bits, that it's well after midnight before the 1st guest is on. Johnny would also have authors on like Carl Sagan.
When we were in elementary school, we could watch Carson on New Years Eve.
I also remember an interview he did with Andy Kaufman, where Kaufman did the whole interview as 'the little foreign gentleman' (the character that eventually became Latka on'Taxi'). Kaufman kept talking about his homeland, an island in the Caspian Sea, and Carson played it absolutely straight.

'niac -

I remember that show ... "this guy is really weird ..." we thot ... finally, after awhile, it sank in that this was a bit, and not the "real" (in one sense, at least) Kaufman ...

and I keep watching the memories programs as I'm trying to post ... and get sidetracked ...

how many performers we've enjoyed to one degree or another can we credit Johnny with for giving them a foothold break in the entertainment business ... (rhetorical question ...)

Go in peace, Johnny - and may you be thirty days in heaven ere the devil knows you're dead.


Dave, do you anything left on your "list"?

Win Pulitzer - check
Write column that's ALWAYS funny for decades - check
Be on Carson - check
Letterman - check
Rock Band - check
Write countless bestselling books - check
Movies - check
Work with Steve Martin - check
Work with Garrison Keillor - check
Work with John Cleese - check
bunch of stuff I haven't mentioned - check
Go to Christobol's and record Rap Album - AHA!

So, at least you have that to look forward to.

Today was a day of two great losses. One, Johnny Carson, an absolutely amazing man who passed away, and another, my hero and idol, who quit on me, the cows, and the toilets everywhere. We'll miss you! I'll miss you! Ahh!

Today was a day of two great losses. One, Johnny Carson, an absolutely amazing man who passed away, and another, my hero and idol, who quit on me, the cows, and the toilets everywhere. We'll miss you! I'll miss you! Ahh!

Today was a day of two great losses. One, Johnny Carson, an absolutely amazing man who passed away, and another, my hero and idol, who quit on me, the cows, and the toilets everywhere. We'll miss you! I'll miss you! Ahh!

Today was a day of two great losses. One, Johnny Carson, an absolutely amazing man who passed away, and another, my hero and idol, who quit on me, the cows, and the toilets everywhere. We'll miss you! I'll miss you! Ahh!


You "sinner" you!..very funny story...and Christobol I am rooting for u...I am sure Dave has nothing much better to do...

Man, 4 entries in one? That is impressive. I guess what I have to say is just that important.

Ok. Johnny Carson was the reason I lost a good friend. I USED to have a "friend" who wanted to marry William Shatner. Well..he wouldn't talk to her when she finally got to met him...so then she became obsessed with Robert Redford. So,in a moment of forgettable genius, I suggested that some lady wanted to met Johnny Carson so she purposely walked by his house with a wine glass in her hand, and became his wife. I suggested that my girlfriend could met a movie star the same way.!! She TOO could catch a movie star. So, I wrote him a letter,pretending I was her and his secretary wrote back....pretty soon, my girlfriend was taking trips to Sundance and sitting around his restaurant...wearing Indian earrings and smelling like a gardinia in heat. Anyway SHE (my girlfriend) started writing letters...and then..suddenly..she moved to Miami Beach, got a job as a stewardess and never spoke to me again. Evidently, Mr. Redford found out the first letters and the following were NOT the same person. Thanks Johnny. (you guys don't take this seriously do you?)

Anyway, just HOW many times can one person cry at Bette Mitler singing "One for the Road" After the tenth time,today.. I'd had enough. I was trying to cook. It was bad enough that he left us in the first place. Shyness or not, I mean, if Renquist (sp) can waddle down to deliver the oath of office...why couldn't Johnny have given us a few more nights? I'm going to be angry at him a little more before I get sentimental and really morn...out of proper respect.After all, he WAS a great man.

AT least DAVE is keeping in touch with his fans. He'had better...I only have one friend left, and she only talks to me at Christmas.

Nexter Vega

Very sad about this loss, but we can all be happy about the fact that the greatest single late-night personality in the history of television will be taking over The Tonight Show in four short years.

Something on the other thread reminded me of one of Johnny's gags I've always remembered.

Monologue, I think ... as close as I can recall to complete and/or direct quote:

Johnny: Did you hear about the accident on the freeway today? A woman was driving topless, and there was a chain reaction pileup.
They reported it on the sports page.
"Bares two, Rams 20."

If I'm not mistaken, this is going to be the first time Johnny's seen God since He guest-hosted (in the movie Oh, God - Book II).

watched him every nite. watched all the anniversary shows, so they could educate me on what i missed before i was allowed to stay up past 11 pm. ive missed him since he left. i'm sure i taped his last week of shows. on the clip they always show of the ed ames show ... johnny's quip was .. and now, this week's episode of frontier rabbi.... loved all the shows with the animals... especially when they either wet on him, or he feigned fright. i'm a geezer who loved it when rickles walked on, or when dean martin showed up....i wanted to be a comedian too, and dreamed of being on his show. neither jay nor dave does that for new comedians. rest in peace john, you gave more than you took.

We really lost Johnny Carson when he retired in '92. Since then, because of his wish for a private lifestyle, we've had only "Best Of" tapes or programs that feature highlights from the Tonight Show.

What we have now lost is the hope that some day Johnny would come back to make us laugh in new ways once again.

Johnny Carson was brilliant. I love his last name. He was the master of the skit, monologue and interviewing.

I will miss him.

I miss you, too, Dave...although you are not dead.

I am currently reading all your columns backwards to see if you AND Paul McCartney were replaced by clones in the sixties.

Carnak: Dippidy Do.

Answer: What forms on your dippity early in the morning.

I might be a slightly younger person, but my mom use to watch the Tonight Show like religion. She would let me stay up and watch the opening stand up and skits. I don't remember specifics since I was a little younger at the time (12 when he retired) but I do remember watching the switch over between Johnny and Jay. I like Leno's opening skits, but he was funnier when he first started out than he is now. Carson will have a more lasting effect than he will I think.

....hermetically sealed in a mayonnaise jar on Funk&Wagnalls front porch since noon today...

...take the Slawson cutoff, cut off your slawson...

someone already mentioned it, but he was at his best with mediocre material. at worst, he would start dancing to 'Tea for Two'

I loved all his characters, except Aunt Blabby.

Mzvette - watched it like religion - does that mean she fell asleep during the monologue or that she never missed? Or both?

I, too, loved Carson and Karnak.

When my sister and I were in high school, her band group devised, "The Mission". They mapped out our place, which had a walk-out basement. They arrived in 3 vehicles. They assigned two kids to chain-fed our dogs biscuits so they wouldn't sound off. And they used two cases of toilet paper to completely cover our lot.

This happened while Carson was on. Our parents were so busy watching, they didn't notice ANYthing until they came upstairs to bed. When Dad went to lock the door, he thought the yard looked a little brighter than normal (from all the white toilet paper). Holy smokes!

Johnny will be missed truly.

I grew up watching many Johnny Carson shows. He was a great comedian and he always made me laugh. Oh, by the way so do you Dave.

I just heard a report on the news that the reason the story came out last week about his contributing items to David Letterman was because when Pete Lassaly (a former producer) was asked how Johnny's health was, Pete changed the subject. Peter knew his health was failing and couldn't talk about it, so he changed the subject by mentioning the jokes that Johnny would send Dave Letterman.

I remember Rich Little being on the Tonight Show. He thought he had really hit the big time when he was greeting in the studio with, "Hello, Mr. Little!" (MISTER Little, he repeated, then paused) Then the person saw Johnny and greeted him, "Hello, Mr. Big!"

I loved Carson's humor because it was genuinely funny! He didn't 'run' others down and wasn't offensive in the least. I am so tired of those stale jokes of Leno's referring to Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky, and others. Jokes that he just can't let go of, but keeps draggin them up when he runs out of material. All of his jokes are at everyone's expense. I don't think that is real humor. David Letterman is O.K. but he isn't very funny, nor is his bandleader. I guess that I'm too critical but having seen Johnny all of those years, spoils me for ever!

How incredibly sad to lose Johnny. I was just talking to my younger friend the other day about sending the Tonight Show tapes to my sister last year when she lost her cat. They really cheered her up! The decency line was forever crossed when Johnny retired. I remember hearing him say once, in a rare interview, something about never doing humor at someone's expense in a way that would really hurt them. That philosophy has really gone by the wayside nowadays. Too, too bad. He could make me laugh until I could hardly breathe! So do you Dave. I sent your book to my sister for Christmas two years ago and she told me she got some real belly laughs out of it. It was also the very last gift I ever sent my brother who passed away last year. I hope he had some laughs - if he read it, I know he did! Come back soon!


Thought I'd share with you folks my post of last night on IMDb's Johnny Carson board:

It is a dark day indeed. And I'm not even a Steelers fan.

Johnny's "Carnac the Magnificent" bit was almost always just that: magnificent. Two of my favorites, and I might not have the second precisely right but I'll try...

Answer: Bjorn Borg
Envelope: Describe the sound of two fat people getting romantic

Answer: Persian, Volkswagens, Dolly Parton
Envelope: Name some famous rugs, bugs, and jugs

I'm getting tired of turning on (American) football games and having the announcers tell me that one of my entertainment gods has been called home. First Johnny L., and now Johnny C. Twice in the same quarter-century is too often for that sort of thing.

To any NBC exec who may stumble across this: if you fail to do your level best to air a fitting and proper tribute at least two hours in length, may a crazed wolverine nurse its young in your shorts.

slyeyes, thanks for that report. It makes perfect sense.

Who is Johnny L that you refer to, WriterDude? You lost me...

It's really true what they say...You really don't miss it until it is gone. Johnny will be sadly missed by all of us Canadians and a little bit colder missing the warmth of his humor.

John Lennon, Blogchik. Howard Cosell delivered that horrible news to the entire country on Monday Night Football. And yesterday, I got word of Carson courtesy of Jim Nantz soon after the start of the AFC championship game.

Uncle Omar,

Yes, I remember Paar, too. Carson raised the bar. Many happy memories. "Weird, wild shtuff!"

And talk about AD-LIBS...

Carson had, as a guest, a pro-golfer's wife. I forget if it was Mrs. Jack Nicklaus or Mrs. Arnold Palmer, but Johnny asked her if she had any good luck ritual with which she sent her hubby out to the tours, and she said, "Yes. Before he leaves, I make sure I kiss his balls."

(perfect timing pause with mischievous smile)

Carson: "Well, I'll bet THAT sure makes his putter stand up straight!"

I screamed, then laughed til I cried!

Mom: "Wha-a-a-a-at?!"
Dad: "I TOLD you the kids shouldn't be staying up for this!"
Baby Bro: "I don't GET it!"

I am astounded, Mike "Mad's Dork" Weasel. I would have bet that never in my life would I see a nursing badger, or even that such video exists on the web. Nice trick.

Carnak was, in fact, magnificent. Does anyone remember the name of his character with the cap and gown? He was like a professor that knew everything, Ed asked the questions. My favorite was: (Ed): "Vini, Vidi, Vici. What does that mean?" (Professor Carson):"Vini means I came and Vici means I conquered". (Ed):"And what is Vidi?". (Carson):" Vidi is what I got after I came and conquered". Still makes me laugh. My favorite Carnak bit is Johnny holding the envelope to his turban and: "Mount Baldy". (blows in envelope), "What is Yul Brenner's wife going to do later tonight?" Johnny was one of the gods of comedy. He was very good at a lot of things. Thank goodness we have some recordings. He will be missed.

I am fortunate to have a friend who works for the Screen Actors Guild. Not only did he score me tickets for "The Tonight Show" - but these were "VIP" badges that got us to the front of the line and into the good seats (ie front two rows)! It was also one of those special nights when Johnny, Ed AND Doc were all there. Guests? Oh, yeah. I guess they had guests.

Perhaps you remember the very last Carnak joke Carson ever told:

Answer: "Green Acres."

Question: "What does Kermit get when you kick him between the legs?"

(Green achers.)

I'll never forget "sis, boom, bah," as I still laugh as hard as when I watched it the first time.
I think the most salient point of Johnny's impact on the world was made by O.U., and like O.U., and although I'm not nearly as ancient, I remember when people used to care enough about what Johnny thought that they asked "did you hear what Johnny said about....?" almost every day in every day conversation. He was one clear voice in the night.
We also only had three channels.....and two of those went dead at 9 o'clock.

(Ed): "The great sage. seer, soothsayer and famous 'Mystic of the East', Carnak The Magnificent". "Mmmmmmm wrong panther breath!" Still looking for the name of Carson's professor character. He came out doing the skip step and stumble, to the strains of "Pomp and Circumstance" We'll be right back.

Johnny Carson characters are listed here, but it doesn't say anything about a professor.

thank you floyd r. turbo for reminding me of a carson character.
there was a column by Dave about what girls wanted in a boyfriend when he was in school (and it wasn't 'a sense of humor') where he finished by giving his true estimation as a person.

"Twice. I was on Carson twice. "

OK....so that was the wrong link! How did THAT happen, a pic of Dave getting ready to parasail or something.

H-e-e-r-e's Johnny's characters

(I hope)

Best Carson story I've heard yet. Thanks for sharing.

'niac (and everyone else ... if you wanna follow along)

Just got in from work, and after email, hadda check this blog ... thinking about it all day ...

Hey! I live on Slauson ... in a hotel, actually, for the last two months ... but every time I turn onto the street, from the freeway, parking lot or going home ... I think to moi ownself ... "cut off your Slauson" ... it's become part of our ethos as a nation of people ...

tnx Brent, for the compliment ... I just told it as I saw it ... and that's how it was ... in school, at work, wherever ... someone would bring it up ... because Johnny's jokes were good ... and germane ... and we could identify with him because (for us in the "Midwest" especially) he was, or could have been the kid next door, who went big time and done good ...

lots of other bloglit comments strike me as particularly apropos, but perhaps the most telling was that of etc. --- I agree, we lost the hope that someday, somehow, he would grace us with just one more memorable appearance ...

Johnny had the comedic timing of Marx, Fields, Burns, Benny and a dozen more, all rolled into one ... and his knowledge of the world around him enabled him to hit those ad libs in an instant ... every single time ...

ahhh ...

enuf 4 now

Uncle Omar -- I just got an email from a friend who drove through L.A. for the first time recently, and says he was astounded to discover that Slauson Avenue actually exists. He thought Johnny had made it up. Too funny.

WD - yeah, but you gotta watch for it if you're on the 605 ... one of my co-workers was following me when he got out here, and even though I told him on the radio to be ready, and DO NOT (not knot) take the first Washington exit and when the second exit DO NOT (not knot, again) take the Washington ramp, but WAIT and take the Slauson ramp ...

He missed it ...

So, after several phone calls ... This is a REAL conversation. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP!

"John, when you come to Telegraph, take the exit, turn right and follow it to the hotel ..."

and he turned LEFT ...

"John, where are you?"
"I just went past Valley View ..."
"Turn around. You are going the wrong way ..."
"Where do I turn off of Telegraph?"
"Okay, here's Rosemead ... Paramount ... ooooh, here's Slauson ... now which way? "
"Left, John, go under the freeway ..."

So, when he finally got to the hotel, I cut off his Slauson.

But even funnier (to me, at least) was when another one of our crew came to town.

He asked John how to get to the hotel.


*phone rings*

"This is Neil. John told me how to get there. I just took the exit ramp off the 605. After I get to Telegraph, which way do I turn ...?"


Exactly the same route.

Unfortunately, I was not at the hotel when he got there.

So, he's still got his Slauson.

Sad day for comedy. A sad day for TV. But I guess as somebody wrote earlier today, comparing it to the "Day the Music Died", TV really died the night Johnny Carson left the tonight show. I hadn't put it together until I read that. It really is true. It was a quick and slippery slope downhill for America's favorite medium after that, wasn't it?

Being a member of the "second" Johnny Carson generation, my first memories are only audio. I am sure millions of others remember being in bed at 11:30 and knowing what time it was when we heard the NBC orchestra playing the Tonight Show theme through the thin walls of whereever we were living at the time. Ed McMahon's thundering baratone ushering Johnny onstage... it was always an event, every week-night. Funniest thing, I can remember being, oh, about ten years old or so and actually waking up laughing! Sometimes his damn monologue was so funny I would wake up belly-laughing and would get in trouble for it. My parents would yell, "go to sleep!" But they couldn't help but laugh so loud you couldn't sleep anyways.

One of the funniest jokes I still remember, I think it must have been a Friday night broadcast as I was lucky enough to be able to see this one... probably in the '70's... I can't remember the lead in but the premise was that one of the Apollo astronauts, maybe Neil Armstrong, had just got back to Earth and was asked what he missed about being up there and said he "couldn't wait to get him some of that Moon-Tang..." Jesus Christ! That laugh must have went on for about seven and-a-half minutes! Remember that one? God, I really miss that stuff.

Anyways, I had been considering the Johnny Carson DVD's but after reading about how they have been censored... with today's "new morality"... removing drug references, etc... I think I have decided to take a pass. If I am wrong in doing that let me know... but if they did do that at all then I'd rather let my faded memories serve me better.

Johnny Carson was one-of-a-kind. The guy taught me how to laugh and you can't even begin to repay something like that. I miss him now and have for over ten years. That day in 1992 was indeed the "Day TV Died".

I first remember Johnny when I was a fifth-grader in Lincoln, Nebraska, watching his TV show on WOW TV in Omaha. The next memory is a vague one of his CBS evening show which lasted for one year(?), then "Who Do You Trust" followed by "The Tonight Show." When I was a the U of Nebr in the 1960s, the old yearbooks at the student union from the 1940s had well-thumbed sections showing Carson in various variety show skits.It's fascinating to see the different types who headed that show - Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Carson, then Leno. I won't knock Jay other to say he's basically a comedian, and that's it. The switch from Paar to Carson was really wild - a man who displayed his entire personality on the show every night, and one whose "TV persona" was totally different from off the screen. Paar was big, Carson was huge, and it's sad to see both of them pass. For Carson, 30 years at the top - we'll never, ever see that again. The absolute greatest

some corrections, folks. The story about Bob Newhart and Johnny and the big house - I heard it in reverse - Newhart is at CARSON's house, and when asked about what he thinks of it says "where's the gift shop?"

I hope "Doug" was not serious about Conan being "the greatest single late-night personality in the history of television." I mean, Conan's good, but let's be serious here, Carson wipes out everybody, with Paar coming in 2nd.

I think the gifted comedians (Dave included here) are the ones who think of comedy as a substance, something almost tangible that they can craft and mold into something funny.

Some of those who come to mind are Johnny Carson, Carol Burnett, Bill Cosby, John Cleese.

The talent of folks like these far surpasses the preprocessed canned knee-jerk shock-jock stuff served up today.

I think the gifted comedians (Dave included here) are the ones who think of comedy as a substance, something almost tangible that they can craft and mold into something funny.

Some of those who come to mind are Johnny Carson, Carol Burnett, Bill Cosby, John Cleese.

The talent of folks like these far surpasses the preprocessed canned knee-jerk shock-jock stuff served up today.

It is great hearing all of these Carson memories from everyone, which just goes to show that he was a huge unifying force in this country for 30 years. Young and old (me), liberal and conservative, ying and yang (wasn't that your old pen name, Dave, "Yang', when you were younger?), it seems like everyone had at least a fondness for Johnny Carson. I think his truest gift was that he never became fake. We might not really know the true man behind the mike, so to speak, but I also feel like he was genuine in his love of comedy and his audience, and his guests were just that to him -- his guests, whom he made as best he could be the best they could and feel welcome. No sarcasm, no cut-downs, no picking on the little guy to get laughs. And the fact that he was truly funny just magnified his decency. I will miss you, Mr. C., but have been since 1992.

Jay Leno is the dog of late-night TV; he'll do anything to please. Dave Letterman is the cat; he doesn't care what anyone thinks. And they're both good and funny in their own ways. But Johnny Carson was, and remains, the Master.

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