Monday, January 24, 2005

Farewell Johnny...

I've been holding off on this post because I wanted to do something a little different to mark the passing of Carson. I've always felt lucky that I was old enough to really get what he was doing before he retired. I feel sorrow for those not old enough to have watched him as an adult, there was a subtlety to his comedy that a child doesn't pick up on. Don't get me wrong he was funny for everyone and you can see that in the clips running on TV the past day, but none of what I've seen has captured the next layer of funniness that made him the master that he was. Update: Jess at LIFE... or something like it has captured one of the Carson Moments I was thinking of... though it's not subtle in this case the flavor is right on target.
My favorite Johnny Carson line..... Ms. Gabor: (Sitting with a cat in her lap) Johnny do you want to pet my pussy? Johnny: Sure as soon as you move that cat. Carson was sued, but I must say the line is immortal.
"On his first show, Carson was introduced by Groucho Marx; Johnny's first words, reacting to applause as he walked onstage for the first time: 'Boy, you would think it was Vice President Nixon.'"
Johnny began his career at age 14 with a magic act called "The Great Carsoni" in Norfolk, NE, where he grew up. As a Navy ensign aboard the USS Pennsylvania in 1945, he was the only officer to consciously entertain enlisted men during shows on the ship. While a student at the University of Nebraska, he was allowed to be late for his first class so that he could work at a local radio station, KFAB and then worked at WOW in Omaha, where he wrote comedy and announced commercials for a 15-minute program....

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