As a casual observer of the passing scene, much like you probably are, I’d like to comment on Johnny Carson… but not what everybody else is doing. I’d like to speak about his retirement.
It is rare indeed for a celebrity, especially of the stature of Carson, to say he’s retiring and then actually do it. No “comebacks”. No embarrassing specials. Nothing. Just retirement.
It used to be that only the old, sick, or some combination thereof, could get away with calling every show their “final performance.” Now everybody’s doing it… with the sole intent of generating buzz for their “comback” at some point in the near future. Except for Johnny…
Most celebrities say “I want to get out of the public eye.” Sure they do. Many entertainers (writers included) are like marijuana plants growing in some Cheech & Chong wannabe’s basement Ã¢â‚¬â€œ They can’t survive for long unless they’re bathed in warm limelight on a regular basis. It’s the very essence of their being, and the reason they never follow through with false promises of retirement… Except for Johnny.
Though Carson was retired for well over a decade, it feel like it was only yesterday I was laughing at his monolog or the look on his face as an animal climbed on him and peed on his suit. Fortunately, we can still relive those memories. In a way, I suppose Johnny never did retire, and still hasn’t. He’ll be with us for years to come. No other television personality can make us feel that way… Except for Johnny.