Remembering Johnny
as told to David van Wert

Johnny Carson

Some of my favorite childhood memories are of staying up late, watching The Tonight Show with my mom and dad. Besides being funny and entertaining, it really made me feel special, you know, to be doing a grown-up thing with my parents. And the next day at school, all the other kids would be asking me questions on the playground. "What happened on the show last night? Tell us what Jack Paar said!" Of course, that was back when Jack Paar was hosting.

When Jack Paar left, I didn't think anybody could replace him. But you know what? I was wrong, because Johnny Carson stepped right in and kept the banner waving, you know? I mean, he didn't try to be another Jack Paar, he made the show his own. He had his own style. I mean, Johnny was every bit as classy as Jack, but he has his own style, his own unique joie de vivre. I figured sure when Jack Paar left, it'd be back to the early bedtime for me, but Johnny didn't let me down. I'll always thank him for that.

That new guy, Jay Leno, is a glad-handing schmuck without an ounce of class. But Johnny Carson was one-of-a-kind. He had a great run on that show. So many years, so many interesting interviews, so many great off-the-cuff quips, so many hilarious sketches. He always came out 100%, and I was a faithful viewer every single night, without fail. I mean, sure he took vacations every now and then, and who can blame him? The man worked hard-- he deserved it! Still, I was always extremely disappointed when I'd turn on the Tonight Show and it was being guest-hosted by David Brenner or somebody. Or sometimes it was pre-empted entirely by my neighbor's demon-dog commanding me to kill people. That was always a real fucking drag. But nine times out of ten it was Johnny, the king of late night, and those were some good times!

Good night, Johnny. I'll miss you.

See you in Heaven someday,
David Berkowitz -- fan

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