Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Jack Paar

For those who don't know - Jack Paar is the man credited as the second host of NBC's Tonight Show - from 1957 to 1962; after Steve Allen and before Johnny Carson.

Tonight became one of NBC's most important and influential shows under Paar, and has more or less stayed that way ever since.

One of the most famous moments on the show during Paar's run as host is the infamous "Water Closet" joke. Paar told this joke - which can be best described as mildly amusing by today's standards - on a 1960 episode of Tonight. NBC thought it too suggestive, and edited it out of the evening's broadcast.

The video of Paar telling the joke is believed lost - but you can listen to the audio here. (Isn't it interesting to hear a comic set-up a joke by telling the audience how funny it's going to be?)

Anyway, Paar took offense to being edited by the network, and actually walked off the show the following night. Video does exist of this, but I'm linking to an audio clip anyway. It has the entire opening monologue, and buildup to the moment Paar emotionally walks out. You can skip to the 2:25 mark if you want to get to the good part. Listen to the audience's reaction when Paar announces he is leaving!

I've always wanted to use Paar's line "There must be a better way of making a living than this..." when quitting a job, but so far - no luck.

By the way, Paar was back on Tonight in about a month.