The blog for The Solitaire Rose Experience. Yes, the blog revolution is utterly and completely over. However, I haven't figured that out yet, so I'll be listing articles, ideas, links, and other internet debris. Now, you can join in! And be mocked mercilessly!

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Johnny Carson

With the passing of Johnny Carson, I'm struck again by my own age and the changes I have seen.

There are plenty of people on the internet who will write moving tributes like Mark Evanier, but mine is a lot more personal.

I grew up in a very small farm town, pretty damn far away from everything. So, like many people my age, I learned everything from books, comics and TV. As a kid, I KNEW about Johnny was hard not to as my parents and grandparents would talk about his show all the time. They would tell some joke they heard on Carson, or talk about some silly thing a guest did, and I'd be fascinated. Problem was, it was on so late that I wasn't allowed to stay up that late. With an 8:30 bedtime, 10:30 was some far off time that I couldn't even hope to stay up until.

It became almost a rite of passage to be allowed to stay up until Carson was on, and by my Sophmore year, I was finally allowed...

And I fell in love with Carson's monlogue. Just loved it. It was political humor, pretty bland in the face of the other stuff that was around, but still, here was a guy who started his show making jokes about what was going on in the news. A couple of my friends were as comedy obsessed as I was, and we'd go over what Carson did the next day, just dissecting how he put jokes together. I didn't much care for the sketches he did after the first commercial since I'd already gotten hooked on Saturday Night Live by then, and they were doing brilliant work in that format that made Carson seem old and dated. But the monologue was the best thing on TV.

A few years later, Letterman came along as deconstructed the whole idea of talk shows, and was the show for the hip college student (it was the 80's, give me a break), but with Carson, there was always the monologue.

Even when I finished college, and drifted to more alternative humor and got hooked on cable.....I still missed Johnny's monologues. I didn't have the time to watch them with working weird hours, and raising a son on my own, but by then, I knew how he put jokes together, and ruthlessly applied his comedy rules.

A lot of people have pointed out different comedians that my jokes are like....used to be Dennis Miller until he went unfunny, or Bill Hicks (who didn't discover until after his death) or Bill Maher.

But no, none of them were my influences. When it comes to the Weekly News Update, the good ones are inspired by Carson. The bad ones....well, those are just mine.

So, Johnny, I hope you realize just how many lives you touched, just by coming out and doing the best damn TV show you could do for 30 years.


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