After Johnny Carson's retirement from the show, Jay Leno stepped in as his permanent replacement. The format of the show has remained largely unchanged, consisting primarily of an opening ... See full summary »
Daytime, primetime, then late-night talk and variety show. Often there was only one guest (GA Gov. Lester Maddox walked out angrily during one interview). Cavett was intelligent and witty, ... See full summary »
Making a satire out of the entire Late Night Show concept Scotsman Craig Ferguson hosts his show with a robot skeleton and a "horse" as his sidekicks. The show features the stereotypical parts of a Late Show, but all in their own, raw way.
Josh Robert Thompson
As Carson grew into the show, his comedy grew as well; he started dropping his early reliance on slightly risqué material for more substantial comedic commentary on the news of the day. Johnny's monologue became the country's most acutely observed political barometer. Johnny made fun of them all: anyone in politics or show business or public life. See more »
[last lines of show]
You people watching, I can only tell you that it's been an honor and a privilege coming into your homes all these years to entertain you. And I hope when I find something I want to do and think you would like, I can come back and
[you will be]
as gracious in inviting me into your homes as you have been.
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Whenever Carson added a skit to an episode, the "Mighty Carson Art Players" would be announced as guest stars. See more »
Select comedy sketches from the Tonight Show were taken and placed into syndication into "Carson's Comedy Classics" during the mid 1980's. See more »
Johnny Carson was a trailblazer on late night TV. There were other talk show hosts before and during his tenure. Carson, though, had true charisma, a dry sarcastic wit, and perfect timing. You would be cheered up just by him walking on stage. When a joke bombed, he could find a way to make it the funniest part of the monologue. There has never been a late night host since Johnny Carson who would ask a guest an open ended question, and then just sit back and let the celebrity be brilliant on their own. Every other late show host interrupts guests with their own "funny story" or "punchline" and it is unfortunate. Carson could always do a great set up and then just let the celebrity go with it. I think the recurring guest I enjoyed the most was Joan Embery from the San Diego zoo, bringing animals both creepy and cuddly to crawl all over Carson. Carson always rose to the occasion.
It's probably good Johnny retired when he did. He would have been uncomfortable among most of the talk show hosts who were on the air by the end of the 1990s. Everything became cruder, more political. more of a coliseum. There will never be another Carson.
As an interesting aside, Saturday Night Live came into existence because Carson wanted an extra night off. NBC was already running "The Best of Carson" one day a week, but doubted they could get away with doing that two nights a week. And Carson was going to get his way because he was NBC's only hit TV show in the mid 1970s. Thus Saturday Night Live was born.
Carson is still around on DVD, maybe on Netflix, most definitely on youtube. If you've never seen him at work I suggest you study him for awhile. When he was on we were truly living in a golden age of charm and wit and grace.
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