The field of late night talk show hosts has become quite crowded in recent years. Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel and Conan O’Brien have certainly carved out their own uniquely strong identities. Whether it’s Fallon’s sense of childlike fun, Colbert’s politically charged and funny monologues, Kimmel’s hilarious rivalry with Matt Damon or Coco’s classic string dance/nipple rub combo, their identities are formidable enough that they should stay in their time slots for as long as they wish.
But they and all other late night hosts who come after them owe a huge debt of gratitude to the original king of late night, who abdicated his throne 25 years ago . Johnny Carson was and still is the measuring stick for the late night talk show host. My favorite part of the show will forever be Ed’s legendary opening cry of ‘HEEEERE’S JOHNNY!’, Doc’s amazingly loud dress jackets and Johnny’s monologue.
Close second for me would be the many legendary comedians he showcased, especially the ones he invited up to the couch after their sets, which Carl Reiner once said was akin to “the Pope blessing you”. If you need proof, ask Eddie Murphy, Jerry Seinfeld and Ellen DeGeneres!
How about you? What are your best memories of “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson”?