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Herrrrrre’s . . .  Nobody

April 2024


I’ve not ever watched late-night talk shows, regardless of who hosted the gab-glitz-and-gossip fest.  Unless My Muse is keeping me awake past midnight, I aim to be sound asleep between 10 and 11 p.m.  New Year’s Eve for me tends to be a pre-midnight vigil over the turning of the clock and the calendar.

 

I have watched clips of the Johnny Carson Show, and rarely found myself in awe of the man or his guests.  Dean Martin was always a handsome hunk of a hoot there, or anywhere!  During one appearance in December 1975, Dino was asked by Johnny if he gambled when he was there, in the Meggum (MGM in Vegas).


Mr. Martin sobered up real fast from his drunk act, and said:  “Me gamble?  Me? I was a croupier for eleven years and you ask me if I would go up against them tables?  Do you knowww, that those tables are not there to be beaten?  Do you knowww that — that the percentage will get you?”

 

Johnny was too startled and fascinated by those factoids to cut in and stop Dean from talking; so Dean said:  “Why don’t you stop me when I’m yelling like that?”

 

Dean had to remind his host that he, Dean, was The Straight Guy there!


It was an amazing interchange because of the un-scripted nature of the conversation.  Martin had to grab hold of the reins and steer the discussion elsewhere.

 

Carson had an obsession with control, a fixation that started with his childhood magic-trick days and never truly ended.  The ultimate success of the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson was the sleight-of-hand that the host and his guests pulled off:  the spontaneous, ad-lib, free-flowing fun that just bubbled out of this NBC studio in downtown Burbank.


In truth, the performances were highly contained and tightly managed, except for whenever Carson decided to use his spotlighted podium for settling a usually misperceived score, or boxing in any competition to his throne.  The underside of entertainment in those days, uh, nights, was the tension that could be cut with a knife whenever a guest went out of the pre-prescribed bounds that Carson had rigidly set for him or her.

 

What a degrading way for any new talent to have to promote herself!

 

How humiliating for any singer/comedian/magician/actor to have to play by the rules of a guy who didn’t have a great deal of performing art within him to plumb and develop!  In some sense, the casting couch had moved from the inner sanctum of the studio boss — right onto the stage!


The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson debuted on NBC on 1 October 1962 and ended on 22 May 1992.  Those 30 intervening years in America saw countless changes in this country, some good, many bad.  The sane among us are hard at work to separate the wheat from that chaff, and correct the treasonous blunders of the phony elites and their star-struck followers in America.

 

Being star-struck might be an American malady, although the fame-mania is a global phenomenon that enriches those corporate pigs with every wicked click and tacky turn.  The current digital craze for monetizing one’s privacy is a macabre indication that the fate of the entertainment sphere is:

 

Herrrrrre’s . . .  Nobody!

 

If there was one painfully private public person in Hollywood, it was Johnny Carson.  I think Johnny got used more by the network than the other way around.  He was an acutely withdrawn introvert who severely divided his self into two spheres, public and private, with absolutely no inter-lap.


My guess is that he built his public persona to hide away from problems that were long-standing, and entrenched, in his private self.  This division within a person is never a good idea.  Some might call it unhealthy; I’d opine that the overwhelming need for such a schism is the source of the unhealthiness within an individual.  The degree to which he, or she, engages in such a Janus-like existence determines the level of dis-ease within the person.

 

I’ve heard and read lame excuses posited for the markedly aloof, withdrawn nature of this on-air personality.   I consider the worst to be that he was from the Midwest, and was therefore a typical Midwesterner, uncomfortable with the openness of Hollywood.

 

Why, he thought that inquiring about a person’s job, and how much that person makes at his job — was improper because he was grievously steeped in that Midwestern attitude toward talking publicly about money.

 

Excuse me???!!

 

I’m a gal from New Jersey.  Even in a state replete with neighbors garishly and impolitely gaping at neighbors, and sticking their noses into everyone else’s business, the inquiry into one’s salary, or how much you paid for a car, or what the mortgage is costing you this year, that nosiness is:

 

RUDE RUDE RUDE RUDE RUDE.

 

Johnny’s problem wasn’t his rigid, pasty-white Midwestern upbringing, or his American Gothic culture; it was that he HAD culture.

 

Mr. John William Carson was a miserable being off-screen, but, evidently, the Network Suits didn’t mind too much that his personal life was an absolute mess.  As long as he brought in the ratings for:


Herrrrrre’s . . .  Johnny!


The King of Late-Night Comedy died while the world of comedy had been slaughtered by the very forces that made the king who he was:  glib, non-committal and non-controversial about everything.  I applaud him for his positions on public positions, albeit his cone of silence might have been for less than admirable reasons.

 

I was taught during my childhood, and rightly so, that polite company did not discuss sex, religion, or politics.  Those three taboo subjects have become the ONLY topics talked about by the vulgar Puritans of our time. The “unmentionable” has become the campaign slogan!

 

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson was the zeitgeist of an era in which I didn’t take part, and probably never will, except through sliced-and-diced online clips that, to me, aren’t all that funny.


The private laughter and inside-jokes were, after all, private laughter and inside-jokes for a group of performers, some talented, some tender-footed, some sycophantic.  All, however, were dependent upon One Man, Johnny Carson, to do their bidding, while concurrently hoping they’d be able to do their own bidding.  This form of cheap advertising was sold as hilarious entertainment, in much the same way that ABC and Disney swap ad-rate dollars.

 

Real — not coin-operated camaraderie has become such an ancient, though desired, custom that legions of Moderns, born after Johnny and Dean left this earth, spend hours watching archived wayback editions of when Ancients Ruled the Merrymaking Machine!

 

Public tastes, and the public itself, altered significantly between October 1962 and May 1992.  It’s possible that Johnny didn’t see the shrinking of Hollywood during those decades, or the shifts in public preferences, away from Beautiful Downtown Burbank, and toward Beautiful Branson.


It’s more than possible that Hollywood hasn’t seen itself shrivel during those decades and beyond.  What’s amazingly certain is that the influence that this type of late-night show possessed, or was thought to have possessed, has been reduced to an echo chamber of arrogant elitists who are astoundingly divorced from the every-day-life realities of most Americans.

 

Carson adamantly refused to state any of his political opinions or stances during his decades on-air.  He didn’t think his audience wanted to hear such matters.  Nowadays, the political opinion IS the late-night snoozefest!


And the talentless twits who expound upon what is best for you and me and those millions who don’t watch them, those lazy, egocentric oafs think they’re the Elites in America, or, at least, the pontificating PR arm of those Elites.

 

Is this preposterosity (yes, Pages, it’s a word I just made up) something that the Great Carsoni could have prestidigitated?

 

I think not.  By the time that Johnny made his grand exit from the stage, the late-night talk show had outlived its time.  Cable shows were already being packaged and subsidized and sold to the consumer who still doesn’t have a decent à la carte entertainment menu.  (The inherent problem is content, not connectivity.)


The entire business model of putting 1 person at the gatekeeper-anchor-helm of a televised show based upon marketing one’s wares (film, tv show, radio, music, clothing line, jewelry business) through the procession of performers and peddlers, kissing the ring of Mr. Big, is ghastly to me.  In 1962, The Suits at NBC must have seen the arena of marketing power they were building there in Burbank, while the viewership across all 3 networks dwindled with the passing of the years and decades.

 

It’s another example of the crass and corrupt end product of centralizing anything, but especially entertainment.  The joke is on the globalist-media-blobs that now have to pitch their shtick via people without a sense of decency, humor, or humanity.

 

Johnny and his Midwestern morality are starting to garner sweepstakes ratings, once again.  I don’t think even the voice of Ed McMahon could warble life into:

 

Herrrrrre’s . . .  Nobody!

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