Monday, June 1, 2009

Johnny Carson

Speaking of great Tonight Show hosts, here's the greatest - Johnny Carson.

Carson's nightly monologues were a big part of America's television viewing habits for thirty years, and were dependably hilarious. But when he bombed, nobody "bombed" better than Carson.

Here he is telling a joke that gets no reaction from the studio audience. Watch how quickly he recovers, and turns it into an even bigger laugh.

Just a side note: When I attended a Letterman taping in November, the audience was more or less threatened by the Late Show staff that if we didn't deliver huge laughs, Dave just might hold back his "A" material. This, of course, is total bullshit - but it may explain why every joke on Dave's show usually KILLS. Not sure what's going on over at Jimmy Fallon's show where every joke is received with stony silence. It might have something to do with the fact that he sucks, but I digress...

While we're burning through the Carson clips, here's a rare video from the 1965(!) New Year's Eve Tonight Show featuring the "amazing" Criswell. Listen to the huge laugh Carson gets after Criswell's opening statement.