We lost a legend this weekend, and I don't use that term lightly.
("Legend," that is. "Weekend," I use all the time).
Former "Tonight Show" host Johnny Carson died Sunday morning, reportedly of emphysema, at the age of 79.
I loved Johnny Carson's show. There's no better way to say it: on Friday nights and during the summer (and more often, when I could manage), from as early as I was able to stay up late enough until May of 1992, when he retired at the top of his game, I loved Johnny Carson's show.
Maybe it was because it was the first show for adults -- only adults -- that I really loved, and so I felt a little bit grown up being able to laugh at jokes that my parents and grandparents got but that kids my own age didn't seem interested (and probably weren't awake to see). Certainly it was because the show was hilarious; those who consider David Letterman the gold standard always struck me as overly appreciative of the wackiness of Dave's style, but Carson was better (which isn't a criticism of Letterman; Carson was better than everybody). Plus, by most accounts, Carson was a nice guy. And, of course, funny, funny, funny.
It certainly isn't my place to attempt to put into perspective the career of someone like Johnny Carson, so I'll keep this short and sweet, but, it bears mentioning that he greatly influenced my desire to entertain; first, when I was younger, to be a performer, then, as I grew older and realized I'd enjoy walking the streets without getting hassled all the time, a writer. If I could entertain people like Johnny Carson entertains people, I thought, I'd have myself a great life. I think the same thing today.
So goodbye, Johnny Carson. I've been missing you since May of 1992, and I'll miss you for the rest of my life.