JOHNNY

The glut of shows–series, limited series, Netflix/Amazon/Hulu series–that are streaming on your 60 inch screens, your computers, your iPads, your phones, your watches–are frankly too much for me to deal with. The chore of watching the amount of material that one is told (by friends and the New York Times) are must-see shows reminds me of having too much homework as a kid–invariably none of it would get done due to the enormity of the task.

So instead every night I’ve been watching episodes of the Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson on Youtube. The show kills. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Carson was suave, sleek, self-deprecating, a witty and quick sparing partner and a true fan of performance and performers. The show is laid-back in length with guests given time to stretch out and talk about more than whatever movie or show they were there to promote. Johnny’s topical monologues will bring you back to the now awfully innocent era of the 70s and 80s (my Carson-viewing years). I think his reputation has been in eclipse in recent years due to the numerous stories of his prickdom having come to light–his cutting of Joan Rivers, his cruel endorsement of Letterman over Leno (even though he was correct) etc. But so what? Sinatra was a prick too and he’s never been more popular.

For this evening’s entertainment, I suggest you watch the above posted ‘Tonight Show’, featuring a hysterical Robin Williams who is joined by Jonathan Winters in what must be one of TV’s great two-hander moments. Follow it off (as I’ve been) with a little local news (not cable) for a truly retro experience. Whatever the ‘it’ is that true stars have, Johnny had it. Johnny still kills. Johnny kicks hard. So what if he was a prick? He earned it.

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