There's been a lot of talk about Johnny Carson in the past two days and there's going to be more. I have a feeling he'd probably been irked about it. If he isn't now.
Remembering books I had read about him years ago and hearing what folks are are saying today, Carson was a very private man. He loved to make folks laugh, but when the show was over, it was over. He knew he'd done his job, and now it was time to go home and watch the ocean. He was so good at it, he created the four day work week in the 80's. But, he had nothing to prove. He was JOHNNY CARSON
Everyone had some kind of tribute to Johnny today. Even World Wrestling Entertainment showed a clip of Johnny and Hulk Hogan from 1986 on "Raw" tonight. I wouldn't be suprized if Marvel Comics brings out the issue of "Amazing Spider-Man" that had Spidey on Johnny's show. That is how much of an influence the man had on a generation.
So, how much of an influence did he have on me? Loads. One of my first memories was seeing him on tv at the age of three years old when I shouldn't have been up. I just remember a man behind a desk talking to a bunch of other men. As I got older, I noticed that there were television shows that were on after 8pm and his was the one that was constant. From there, I watched Johnny sling one liners like they came from a holster. Ok, some of them hit the ground in a groan, but he kept them going. Plus, he was gratious with the guest, no matter wsho they were. Whether it was Don Rickles or Joan Embry, he made everyone look good. I studied the man and took what I learned into radio with me. I've gotten to interview loads of folks over the years, some big, some not. But, I remembered what Carson did. Make them feel comfortable. I hope I can go back to doing that again soon, all in the name of Johnny Carson.
Drew Carey said to Jay Leno on The Tonight Show (most other late night shows, including Letterman's, was in scheduled reruns), "You know, when you die, they won't be doing this'', jokingly. There maybe a few moments on CNN about the guy when Jay does go, but it won't be like Johnny's. Somehow, I'll bet Johnny wish it was the other way around.
The King Is Gone. Long Live The King.