Tuesday, January 25, 2005

I'm not done mourning Johnny

I thought that Jay Leno did a nice monologue on Johnny on his tribute show last night. He said he was trying to think of something that hadn’t been said about Johnny before, and then realized what a tribute that was: that there was nothing new to say about Johnny, every compliment had already been paid him. He also pointed out that many NBC shows don't last 30 days, (and rightly so, why is Committed still on?) making Carson's 30-year gig even more unbelievable. And, for most of the thirty years, he earned one fifth of the network's income.

It was great to see Bob Newhart and Don Rickles reminisce, and I was thrilled to see the clips of the Don Rickles-broken-cigarette-case incident, my personal favorite all time Carson moment. (Love the deer-in-headlights looks on the faces of the pages standing outside the doors of Rickles’ studio, red “closed set” lights blazing above, as they threw open the doors at Johnny’s approach, broken cigarette case in hand and cameras in tow. Who would dare do something like this today?)

Also watched Larry King interview Ed McMAhon last night which was made all the more painful by having Larry King present. [Sidebar: How on earth did Larry King get a job as an interviewer? He won’t shut up when people are talking! Ironically, he interrupted Ed McMahon with some insipid question when Ed was talking about what a great listener Carson was. He is the antithesis of what Johnny represented, i.e., always making the guest look good, because he can’t keep his mouth shut long enough to hear what his guests are saying. He’s like an impatient, spoiled child who wants more than anything to hear himself talk. He doesn’t seem to do very much preparation either, last night asking Doc Severinsen if he ever played the trumpet anymore. A slightly miffed Doc answered, “I’m on the road with my band about 46 weeks out of the year, Larry.” Read much, Larry?]

Finally, to all the 20-somethings that may be reading this, and are having trouble understanding what the big deal is, all I can do is echo something else Leno said, “You just had to be there.” If you weren’t, you missed it; nothing like it will ever come around again, so stop asking what the all the fuss is; you’re really annoying us.


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