Johnny Carson really was the King of late night. I remember growing up as a child my parents, my uncles, my aunts & even my cousins would speak beautifully about their memories of the ‘Tonight Show’.
When they spoke of it, it was with such joy it had brought them, as I imagine it did for the rest of America. Even now I watch old clips with my stepfather we laugh hysterically long after the show has been over. That’s a testament to the talents of Carson and his guests. This has been deemed the “Golden Age” of television, it is now gone.
Besides Johnny being the star of the show, the guests truly were the substance of the show many times. The show would be able to catapult careers for many comedians & aspiring actors. Johnny’s taste in comedy and people seemed to be 2nd to none.
I will list in my opinion the top 11 comedians that Johnny Carson helped catapult. I understand that some of the comedians or actors may have had followings already, however being on Carson cemented their places in Hollywood and the world. I am basing this ranking off stardom, longevity, and impact. Dead comedians status does count and they are equally as important.
Also, instead of leaving a bio or filmography about the comedian, I will leave one of my favorite quotes from them.
11. Louie Anderson
“I was with a famous comedian when a young fan walked up and asked for an autograph. The comedian blew him off. I’ll never forget the look on the young boy’s face. He was devastated.”
10. Bill Maher
“Everything that used to be a sin is now a disease.”
9. Don Rickles
“You throw your best punch, otherwise don’t do it.”
8. Rodney Dangerfield
“My uncle’s dying wish – he wanted me on his lap. He was in the electric chair.”
7. Billy Crystal
“I still don’t love the darkness, though I’ve learned to smile in it a little bit, now and then.”
6. Jerry Seinfeld
“Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason.”
5. Roseanne Barr
“You can always get better. Nobody can stop you from getting better, and nobody can stop you from trying to make something right.”
4. Jim Carrey
“If you aren’t in the moment, you are either looking forward to uncertainty, or back to pain and regret.”
3. David Letterman
“There is no off position on the genius switch.”
2. Jay Leno
“If God doesn’t destroy Hollywood Boulevard, he owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology.”
1. Robin Williams
“I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone.”
Thanks Johnny, you will always be the King. For those on this post who have left us, make the angels laugh and rest well.