It’s been almost a year since Johnny Carson died. Like a death in the family, I’m not over it yet.
I remember coming home that Sunday night last January and Ginny telling me he died. Immediately, I poured myself a drink. And I don’t drink much!
Like long-time sidekick Ed McMahon writes in the memoir he wasted no time in publishing, the television tributes that night were both funny and sad. I remember watching them for hours. And I don’t watch that much television.
From the six minute interview with Carson that landed McMahon the job as his "Who Do You Trust" announcer, to Johnny’s death earlier this year, his book "Here’s Johnny!" details their lives and careers together over 46 years.
Throughout Ed maintains Carson offered him not a word of criticism or even direction over the years as to how he should proceed in his "Tonight Show" second banana job, except on one occasion just minutes before their first "Tonight" taping together in New York. He quotes Johnny as saying, "Let’s just go down and entertain the hell out of them."
"Here’s Johnny" is pretty entertaining too. It’s a quick read, but offers as close of a look at the very private Johnny Carson as we’re likely to ever get.
McMahon writes Johnny "wanted attention only for one hour every night, but no fuss about him before or after he had done his job and gone home. That’s how I feel about Johnny’s entire life. He came without fanfare, got the job done, and then left."