January 26 2005


It’s funny, you never really think about someone until they are gone. Johnny Carson did such a good job of falling out of the public eye after he left The Tonight Show, that you just didn?t think about him that often. Sure you would hear a tidbit here or there, and every time I did, it would make me smile a little remembering all his shows, but it just wasn?t a constant thought.

When I first heard the news on Sunday I just got a general feeling of ?Ah, that?s too bad?, but the more I thought about it, the more I remembered about him. The more I remembered, the more I realized we truly had lost a comic great.

You think back to all the comedians who got their big break on his show (Jerry Seinfeld, Drew Carey, Rosanne, Ellen Degeneres to name just a few), and you realize that his influence has crept into your life in a number of little ways.

Every week night, at 11:30 PM EST, he was there, in some way, for 30 years. He became like the friend who just was always a channel click away. You didn?t think about him that much, but late at night you could look at the TV and go ?Oh, hi there Johnny.?

There?s really not a whole lot I can say that people far more talented than I have already said. I can say I am sorry there are millions of people alive today who never saw even one episode. I hope that someday his family will see fit to letting someone run the old shows. I understand they want to control his image, but it almost seems unfair that so many people should not know the joy and amusement he brought so many of us. There is a set out with some bits, and while it is not perfect, it is better than nothing.

And on a side note, every talk show host should be required to sit down and watch numerous episodes before they even speak one word on the air. Even on his worst nights, he was the greatest of them all.

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