Remembering Johnny
as told to Richard Levinson

Johnny Carson

Johnny? Oh, now you're talking about a whole different league, a league of his own, Johnny Carson. Gonna miss him. We're all gonna miss him... never be another one, king of the hill... Johnny Carson. Let me tell you a couple of things about Johnny. I think the main thing was his generous spirit. He was just the most generous, giving sort of guy. Sure, he was funny... nobody was funnier -- but he never upstaged his guests, always wanted them to do great. That was his real secret, his generosity.

I mean look at the comics who he made -- Bill Cosby, Joan Rivers, Gary Shandling, David Brenner... I heard David Brenner did Johnny's show 148 times. 148 times! Guest hosted about 75 times! I mean Johnny gave David Brenner his career, he'd be the first to say so. Think of that......... David Brenner. A guy like David Brenner gets 148 appearances. Me? Well, different story. Look, things happen, you never know where the breaks are gonna come... but Johnny was a generous guy, at least to guys like David Brenner. Guys who kissed his ass enough... Hey, I'm kidding! Johnny wouldn't mind, he had this great sense of humor about himself... so anyway if you kissed Johnny's ass enough, I mean really got down and reamed it out like Browner-- I mean Brenner-- you get 148 appearances. Simple as that.

Look, I had a couple of shots. I got booked twice, but I got bumped. I'm not bitter, things happen. First time I got bumped by a gorilla... a real fuckin' gorilla. Second time I got bumped by some old guy from Indiana who made jewelry from frog poop. Seriously, I got bumped by frog poop. Oh, wait...You know what, I got bumped a third time too! I forgot about this... completely slipped my mind... Yeah, I got bumped by David Brenner. So I'm waiting to do the show, back in the green room, I got 5 minutes solid, ready to go, nothing but laughs... Brenner walks in, flew in from Vegas or something, just waltzes out onto the stage, no intro, no nothing, one of those "surprise Johnny" things, except I'm pretty sure they had it all set up... so, yeah, I got bumped three times... a gorilla, frog poop, and David Brenner. You see a pattern there? Hey, I'm not saying he's a no-talent ass-licking prick, but you make up your own mind. Brenner gets 148 appearances-- of course, maybe it's because he's not the kind of guy who, when he gets bumped by frog poop, starts repeating a rumor he heard about Johnny, Ed, a blonde and the office couch... I'm sure Johnny wouldn't mind me telling the story... he had a great sense of humor about himself, the prick... and you know something? I still think it might have been true. The thing about Ed, the blonde and the couch. At least plausible. Funny thing about Johnny, he always wanted Ed with him, right there on the couch. No matter what... weird guy. Serious nut case, actually. Anyway, so David Brenner gets a career and I get fucked... but the important thing to remember about Johnny was his generosity... we'll all miss him... Yeah, I'll miss him... like a tumor... hey, hey, I'm kidding... he'd be the first to laugh, the fuck.

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