Do you think that there will be a Jay Leno movie?
It isn’t the same as saying so long to Johnny Carson is it? Carson was on for 30 years and was king of late night television. He still is. Prince Charming Leno was on for 20 years by comparison.
Jay Leno was different in many ways. Leno’s pop standup comedy is probably a lot funnier and more creative. Leno engaged the offbeat community of comedians and hipsters by continuing to visit the Comedy and Magic Club on Sunday nights where I lived only a block away. I saw his live performance act more frequently than many. I also saw him jogging (mostly walking) along Hermosa Beach where he was a friendly neighborly acting guy. That is his magic touch, communing with regular folks.
When I first watched The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, I was 14 years old. From that point, I could not go to sleep at night without watching.
When I was 44 years old, I watched my first Leno Tonight Show, and I wasn’t always a regular viewer. Why? David Letterman was edgier.
Letterman has been a late night show host since 1982. Still running, Letterman has endurance like Carson.
“Letterman surpassed friend and mentor Johnny Carson as the longest-serving late-night talk show host in TV history, at 31 years.”
Letterman soiled himself with scandal, but that is his edginess.
Carson had three wives. Letterman had two. Leno has had one wife.
Leno is a traditionalist with personal loyalty and stable character. Maybe that will be missed.
Carson was inspired by Jack Benny. Leno was inspired by Johnny Carson. Let’s say Letterman was self-inspired. Jimmy Kimmel, well, he was inspired by Howard Stern. Go figure.
“John William "Johnny" Carson (October 23, 1925 – January 23, 2005) was an American television host and comedian, known for thirty years as host of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962–1992). Carson received six Emmy Awards, the Governor's Award, and a 1985 Peabody Award. He was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1987. Johnny Carson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992 and received a Kennedy Center Honor in 1993.
Although his show was already successful by the end of the 1960s, during the 1970s Carson became an American icon and remained so until his retirement in 1992. He adopted a casual, conversational approach with extensive interaction with guests, an approach pioneered by Arthur Godfrey and previous Tonight Show hosts Steve Allen and Jack Paar. Late-night hosts David Letterman, Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, Craig Ferguson, and future Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon have all cited Carson's influence on their late-night talk shows, which resemble his in format and tone.”
“Leno’s Long Goodbye
By Sarah Rodman / Globe staff / February 5, 2014
After more than 20 years at the helm of the crown jewel of late night television, Jay Leno signs off from “The Tonight Show” for the final time Thursday night.
While plenty has been said over the years about the lengths to which Leno was willing to go to inherit Johnny Carson’s throne, once he got it, he knew how to hold onto it. Acutely aware that you can’t please all the people all of the time, the Andover native and Emerson College grad aimed to please a lot of the people, most of the time.
And he did. For the lion’s share of his tenure in the driver’s seat of “Tonight,” Leno kept the show at number one in the ratings by providing a steady stream of broad comedy and a safe haven for celebrity guests to hawk their wares. (He hands the keys to Jimmy Fallon, only the sixth “Tonight” host in 59 years, and whom Leno has graciously compared to his predecessor Carson, the longest-tenured host.)