Monday, June 1, 2009

Where's Johnny?

Something that I found interesting and yet completely didn't care about happened last week. Jay Leno did his last show as the host of "The Tonight Show". I happened to hear about it somewhere, and it occurred to me that his departure from the show didn't have near the fanfare that occurred when Johnny Carson left.

Now, there are a number of reasons that could account for that.

1. The regular television season is over, so I'm watching almost no TV nowadays, so I wouldn't have seen any advertisements or such about it, and I don't even know if they had them. I'm also mostly listening to sports talk shows or music on the radio and when I'm at work, so I doubt they'd be advertising there.

2. Jay Leno hasn't been host of "The Tonight Show" for nearly as long as Johnny was, so his departure wouldn't be as big a deal.

3. When Johnny was leaving the show, he was leaving the spotlight, and after he left, there really was almost no mention of him anywhere. I think I'd see the occasion blurb about him playing poker with his buddies, but otherwise, he pretty much disappeared. Jay Leno isn't so much going to disappear as he's going to take a break or something and then start a new show in a couple of months, so it's not like anyone who wants to see him is not going to have that opportunity anymore.

I've never really been that much of a fan of Jay Leno's. I find him mildly amusing at times, but it irritated me that he would often try to explain his joke or try to milk the applause when there wasn't much forthcoming. Johnny was often hilarious, and on the not-so-rare occasions when his jokes were just sinking like rocks, he managed to salvage the moment by making fun of the fact that his act wasn't working. It was funny and endearing at the same time.

So in my world, it makes no difference that tonight is the first night that Conan O'Brien is the new host of "The Tonight Show". I know his name, but other than that, he's barely a blip on my radar.

I used to watch the 11pm news and then watch Johnny's monologue, and if I wasn't too tired, maybe the first segment before going to bed. Late-night TV hasn't been on my schedule for quite a number of years.

Many of us still miss you, Johnny.


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