Sunday, January 23, 2005

Theeeeeere Goes Johnny!

King of Late Night Passes
Originally uploaded by wonderbread74.
Carnac: Ben Gay.
Ed McMahon: Ben Gay.
Carnac: Is there an echo?
Ed: Ha Ha Yes!
Carnac: Ben Gay
Carnac: Why didn't Mrs. Franklin have any kids?

Hey Yo!!!

The "King of Late Night" passed away today at the age of 79.

For me, around the age of eight or nine, staying up long enough to watch the Tonight Show was a grand achievement. Usually by the time I had reached these uncharted waters I quickly fell asleep. In the coming years I would learn more about comedy, most notably delivery and timing, and also witnessed the innate warmth that radiated through him every weekday night.

I was fascinated by the dichotomy that was Carson's personality. How could a man so much in the limelight be so shy?

In 1992, just after he left the Tonight Show, I took a tour of the NBC studios in Burbank. The tour guide escorted us to the since barren set that so many late night memories were staged. We were told that Carson was obsessively shy. In fact, the studio's ceiling was purposely built low and the combination of the bright lights and low roof formed an artificial barrier for Carson to feel comfortable.

I can never forget being the first person at my house to notice that Johnny's zipper was open during his monologue sometime in the 80s. His ability to constantly needle his own foibles and jokingly picking fun of sidekick Ed McMahon's proclivity towards a few cocktails made the audience feel like they were on the inside of so many jokes.

When I was young, I always dreamed of being on the Tonight Show with Johnny. Maybe guest hosting or performing my comedy routine. A comic always knew were truly successful when they heard Carson's trademark cackle rise to the top of the entire audiences roar.

Here's to the man who tucked so many Americans in the bed with laughter and entertainment for over 30 years. Thank you, Johnny.