Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Remembering Johnny

I watched the Tonight Show with Jay Leno last night. His tribute to Johnny Carson was both joyful, sober, and heartfelt. The old clips of Johnny still elicit chuckles after all these years. Unfortunately, old guests like Don Rickles and Bob Newhart just aren't that funny anymore. Rickles may have been funny at one time, but he comes across as somone who desperately needs you to laugh at every expression and one liner he utters, which frankly is more pathetic than funny after a while.

Larry Miller, on the other hand, is a genuinely funny guy. His remembrance of Carson in the Weekly Standard is seriously funny. I think it's the way that Carson would want to be eulogized--not with the focus on him, but on the funny things going on around him.

One more thing to note about Carson: I think it should be noted how studiously he avoided the limelight after his retirement. There's something deeply admirable and healthy about that. So many celebrities seem to never go away--always holding on for just one more stroke of their ego. Carson did his job, did it well, and when it was done, he disappeared from the scene.