the Great Carnac

Johnny Carson as ” Carnac the Magnificent”

When the magnificent Mr. Carson retired, late night comedy went on life support. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Jay Leno, I still watch him on his “Jay Leno’s Garage” show. But, with all due respect to Jay, in my opinion, he never quite filled Johnny’s shoes. Johnny Carson was simply the best, period. When Johnny and his sidekick Ed McMahon were playing off each other, it was so damn funny, your sides ached from laughter.

Johnny had a line up of guests that were crazy funny as well, and he was a genius at magnifying their comments, making them even funnier. Who could ever forget the wonderfully funny and zany interactions with Don Rickles, George Goble, Buddy Hackett, Dean Martin, and especially Jonathan Winters. This was genuinely funny stuff that made you laugh when you remembered it the following day.

Back in those days, political correctness wasn’t an issue. People pretty much said anything they darn well pleased. Some of the dialog that went on in the “Rat Pack” that  Sammy Davis was part of, would send people into a major hissy fit today. People didn’t give this stuff a second thought. If you don’t believe me, watch some of the videos from the famous ” Dean Martin Roasts “. Virtually nothing was off limits.

Late night was born with the ” Tonight Show” originally hosted by Steve Allen. I was a regular viewer. One of Steve’s regular guests was the famous stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, who happened to be a very interesting and intelligent lady. When it was taken over by Jack Parr in 1957 I took a sabbatical, I was never a Jack Parr fan. When Johnny took over in ’62 I was already familiar with him from his afternoon TV show called “Do you trust your wife”. I was working night shift at the time, and watched the show before leaving for work. I watched The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson as much as possible over the next 30 years. Those were truly the golden years of late night comedy.

You never knew what Carson’s politics were. Which is a large part of why he was so popular for so many years. His guests would express politics occasionally, but Johnny stayed out of it for the most part. Leno, was very light on politics as well, but weighed in much more than Johnny ever did. Johnny knew his viewers tuned in to have fun and laugh. It’s pretty hard to make anything funny out of politics and religion. Which, by the way is why Johnny’s ratings were always better than Dave Letterman’s. Dave was funny, but he always had that heaviness of politics/hate intertwined with his humor.

Enter Jimmy Fallon. Jimmy came from “Saturday Night Live” which lost it’s glory long ago, and has been on life support for years. To me, SNL always had a juvenile approach to humor, crass, tasteless and boring. By the way, if you find Alec Baldwin the least bit entertaining, you need to see a shrink. I could never watch Jimmy Fallon. I tried, but it was low class, slap stick lazy approach to humor. How many times can you watch eggs broken over someone’s head before you zone out. His guests are whiney, and bitchy, and perpetual victims.

Jimmy Kimmel, his show is the equivalent of “water boarding” without the water.

Steven Colbert, the only thing that I can think of, is digital torture. I couldn’t stand him before he took over the show. He has the ” likable quotient ” of a maggot.

In my opinion, this is why late night comedy died. The writers quit basing comedy on genuinely funny stuff, and started basing comedy on hate. Even the guests are hate filled lame brains. When you base comedy on hate, you automatically offend at least 50% of the available audience. A certain percentage of the audience that still listen to you are uncomfortable with your comments because you are talking about their families and friends. It is material that is basically paper Mache and won’t last for the ages like the comedy of the late great Mr. Carson, and the other comedic geniuses of his era. The late night shows of recent times should be replaced with more humorous material such as National Geographic, or The Smithsonian Channel.

If you are still watching any of these useless twits, engage in a ” do it yourself” intervention and start watching the ” Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson on YouTube. You’ll feel much better afterwards, and give you hopes of a comedy resurrection. If you want an extra boost, watch videos of the ” Carol Burnett Show” with Tim Conway and Harvey Korman. The funniest people that ever stood on a stage.

The lefties have killed comedy with their unmitigated hatred for everything. Fortunately we have recordings of the great ones. That gives me hope. The recordings are like a long lost recipe hidden away in your late Mom’s belongings. When you find it, you can make and enjoy that delicious cobbler, or cake that you enjoyed when you were a kid.


 Carrol Burnett

     World’s Funniest Lady Ever      

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