TIL when former ‘Tonight Show’ host Johnny Carson died in 2005, ‘Late Show’ host David Letterman recited a comedic monologue at the beginning of the show, revealing later that every joke had been written by Carson, who had been sending in one or two jokes a week during his retirement


TIL when former ‘Tonight Show’ host Johnny Carson died in 2005, ‘Late Show’ host David Letterman recited a comedic monologue at the beginning of the show, revealing later that every joke had been written by Carson, who had been sending in one or two jokes a week during his retirement



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15 thoughts on “TIL when former ‘Tonight Show’ host Johnny Carson died in 2005, ‘Late Show’ host David Letterman recited a comedic monologue at the beginning of the show, revealing later that every joke had been written by Carson, who had been sending in one or two jokes a week during his retirement

  1. According to the article, it was also a big sign that Carson would have preferred Letterman to take over the Tonight Show, rather than Jay Leno.

  2. On a similar note, Letterman chose Norm Macdonald as the comic to perform for his last show, and Norm closed his set with his favorite Letterman joke.

  3. Johnny was so fucking good. A master class in interviewing superstars who always seem to defer to him. Whenever I see an old Tonight Show clip pop up I usually watch it.

  4. Pluto tv has a carson TV channel.im amazed by how much talent came on and Carson knew how to handle it perfectly

  5. Reruns are absolutely worth a watch, especially if you love history. The show does something you can’t get from a history book and that’s provide you a view of what people thought at the time history was happening. So much of history is rewritten you don’t understand what people thought at the time.

  6. I love Johnny. My grandma got me a box set with a bunch of dvds of his show and I’ve loved them since I was a kid. I’ll never forget how clever I found a joke where he was riffing on the geology/climate of California. He said something along the lines of:

    “Sure, we’ve got wildfires, but don’t worry the mudslides will put them out.”

    Love that joke. So clever. Not sure if he wrote that particular one, but regardless his delivery was perfect.

  7. I love David Letterman. I would watch him nightly with my parents. When I was 13 or so I had the opportunity to meet him. He co-owned Panther Racing with my dads former boss.

    I got to spend some time with him at a little race track in WV for a Mercedes Benz promotional video.

    I got my picture taken with him, and was fortunate enough to have him sign it. He wrote “You look like my son.”

    It’s hanging up in my office proudly over 25 years later. Dude is a legit legend.

    Edit: disregard any ties to Panther Racing please I am wrong.

  8. I was born in 1968, 4 weeks early. My father was fighting in Viet Nam, so my mom was living with her parents. My mom could not convince anyone in the house she was in labor. Her own mom insisted on watching Carson’s monolog before agreeing to take her to the hospital. I was born before Johnny signed off at the end of the show. That story always made me feel like I had some kind of connection to Johnny Carson. For years, I couldn’t go to sleep until the monolog was over.

  9. I watched Johnny every night of my adult life, didn’t miss his show if I could help it. To this day, despite telling political jokes about each party and about each individual president, etc., , I don’t know which political way he leaned. His jokes were funny, sometimes poignant, yet not mean. Ones the people getting jabbed could laugh at themselves over. They all came on his show. Sometimes, when a joke bombed on Johnny, he made it the funniest moment of all- and he brought out the best of his guests, knew how to get out of their way, made then shine…he was a master and a gentleman.

    Leno was OK but not as entertaining, and the crap he pulled on Conan was inexcusable, and he never really thanked Johnny. . …
    Letterman was my 2nd favorite, till after Johnny was gone. Then letterman changed, could be downright mean, could make fools of his guests, and was often not funny, and became very slanted.

    Conan was his own show, he was better later at night, when people are more punchy.

    Ferguson was closest, and was downright funny even when he wasn’t. He made his guests feel welcome. They looked like they had fun, and time flew.

    But None could hold a candle to Johnny, he set the standard, we may never see one like him again.

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