I never met Johnny Carson. Yet, I feel I knew him well. One thing for sure, he was a role model and was a strong influence in my professional life. In a more innocent time, his boyish grin and off color, but not too far off sexual remarks, were perfect for my Oklahoma boyish nature. Somehow times became more blatant, and this naughty approach at drinking, wild women and night life became a little more mundane as the use of four letter words and graphic descriptions replaced the forte' of cute but naughty remarks.
Johnny spent 30 years doing the tonight show, and for most of us it seemed like he had retired and dropped out of sight. However, I have heard that he still sent a few jokes to David Letterman from time to time, so I guess he did not really get off the stage completely. That was the mystery about Carson, he seemed to be able to quit while on top. Most of us never quit, we just keep on keeping on...doing what comes naturally. Please don't think that I am comparing my life and career or talent in any way to Johnny Carson, but as I say, he was the top of the mountain - the act I have always tried to be.
There are other great comedy talents, talented talk show hosts and fun
people. But, there is no doubt, the world has one less of them today. His memory
will live in my heart and mind, and there is no doubt he was a great influence
on me, even as I have said, I never knew the man.
An essay reported to have been written by Johnny Carson shortly before his death:
"What Democracy Means to Me"
To me, democracy means placing trust in the little guy, giving the fruits of nationhood to those who built the nation.
Democracy means anyone can grow up to be president, and anyone who doesn't grow up can be vice president.
Democracy is people of all races, colors, and creeds united by a single dream: to get rich and move to the suburbs away from people of all races, colors, and creeds.
Democracy is having time set aside to worship. 18 years if you're Jim Bakker.
Democracy is buying a big house you can't afford with money you don't have to impress people you wish were dead.
And, unlike communism, democracy does not mean having just one ineffective political party; it means having two ineffective political parties.
Democracy means freedom of sexual choice between any two consenting adults; Utopia means freedom of choice between three or more consenting adults.
But I digress.
Democracy is welcoming people from other lands, and giving them something to hold onto... usually a mop or a leaf blower.
It means that with proper timing and scrupulous bookkeeping, anyone can die owing the government a huge amount of money.
Democracy means a thriving heartland with rolling fields of Alfalfa, Buckwheat, Spanky, and Wheezer.
Democracy means our elected officials bow to the will of the people, but more often they bow to the big buttocks of campaign contributors.
Yes, democracy means fighting every day for what you deserve, and fighting even harder to keep other weaker people from getting what they deserve.
Democracy means never having the Secret Police show up at your door.
Of course, it also means never having the cable guy show up at your door. It's a tradeoff.
Democracy means free television. Not good television, but free.
Democracy is being able to pick up the phone and, within a minute, be talking to anyone in the country, and, within two minutes, be interrupted by call waiting.
Democracy means no taxation without representation, and god knows, we've just about had the hell represented out of us.
It means the freedom to bear arms so you can blow the "o" out of any rural stop sign you want.
And finally, democracy is the eagle on the back of a dollar bill, with 13 arrows in one claw, 13 leaves on a branch, 13 tail feathers, and 13 stars over its head. This signifies that when the white man came to this country, it was bad luck for the Indians, bad luck for the trees, bad luck for the wildlife, and lights out for the American eagle.
I thank you.
is either my favorite talk show host/comic or one of the
top three or five. His style, humor and presentation had a lot in shaping my
on air persona. America will always be indebted to him for countless hours
of entertainment and information. Over the next few months we will be adding
video and audio segments featuring Carson at his best. Enjoy!
"It's Christmas time and I don't think we have three Wise Men in the whole country."- Johnny Carson
to listen: Johnny Carson discovered a lot of talent or at least, new talent came on his show and he gave them the exposure they needed. The Smothers Brothers got Carson's attention and the nations too.