Johnny Carson

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Johnny Carson in 1965

John William Carson (23 October 192523 January 2005) was an American actor, comedian, writer, and host of The Tonight Show from 1962 to 1992.


  • Ladies and gentlemen, thank you. This is kind of an emotional thing for me because I've known about this show for a long time, and the newspapers and the magazines that I've probably been interviewed 150 times in the last nine months since I've known about this. As I say, you'll work up to it; we come over here this afternoon, we meet the guests that are on the show, and you get kind of charged up. I don't mean to be maudlin about it, but I know that tonight a lot of people, a lot of my friends are watching all over the country, and I only have one feeling as I stand here knowing that so many people are watching: I want my nana!
    • First monologue on his debut as host of The Tonight Show (1 October 1962).
  • Who could follow Carson? Well, believe me, somebody can — and will.
    • Playboy interview (1967).
  • It was so hot today I saw a robin dipping his worm in Nestea.
    It was so hot today I saw a pigeon walking in the shadow of Orson Welles.
    It was so hot today that Burger King was singing, "if you want it your way, cook it yourself."
    • The Tonight Show (Summer 1977).
  • And so it has come to this: I, uh... am one of the lucky people in the world; I found something I always wanted to do, and I have enjoyed every single minute of it. I want to thank the gentlemen who've shared this stage with me for thirty years, Mr. Ed McMahon... Mr. Doc Severinsen... and... you people watching, I can only tell you that it has been an honor and a privilege to come into your homes all these years and entertain you—and I hope when I find something that I want to do, and I think you would like, and come back, that you'll be as gracious in inviting me into your home as you have been. I bid you a very heartfelt good night.
    • Closing words on his final Tonight Show appearance (22 May 1992).
  • I did not know that.
    • Used on many occasions and often appears in Johnny Carson parodies.
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