Thursday, January 14, 2010
When I was a kid the Tonight Show was a really big deal. In the early days it was hosted by Jack Parr, and when it was time for him to move on - a new unknown named Johnny Carson was chosen to host the show. Everybody thought he would fail and would be replaced by somebody as known and famous as Jack Parr, but Carson took the show to a totally new level of comedy and entertainment.
Anyway - we have a ton of the classic moments from The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson - prepared in a fast paced montage of best of moments. One of the best known is the series of blooper sexual innuendo classics - featuring Jane Fonda's line about Pet My Pussy, and Johnny's offer to trim Raquel Welch's hedges, etc etc. No - the Arnold Palmer clip about how he allegedly said his wife kisses his ball before every tee shot is not included. And a further urban legend says that this clip will never see the light of day, as lawyers are lined up to keep that Tiger deep in the woods forever. But according to Snopes, that urban legend never even happened.
But Johnny was the master of the live clip. Don't believe me - watch this one below with Ed Ames throwing a hatchet on live TV. It does not get better than this.
Johnny also introduced a ton of great comedians to huge nation wide audience - from Rosanne Barr, George Carlin, Bill Maher, to Gary Shandling and a really young Drew Barrymore, who pulled out her baby retainer and plopped it on Johnny's desk.
And the video below featuring Sam Kinison is a just too funny. With Carson at the helm of the Tonight Show, it was always on the cutting edge of comedy. Watch them all!
So, today's current spat with the Tonight Show featuring Jay Leno in one corner with Conan O'Brien in the other - with NBC's Jeff Zucker being the one most likely to get the axe - is not so much about the Tonight Show as it is about the bickering. After Johnny left - and cable began to grow new channels every month, the Tonight Show was really never the same. Johnny Carson was the Tonight Show. If you could put him back on the show - all the networks would be in the bidding and it would go for an astronomical price. I bet Leno, Conan, and Zucker would even agree this was true.