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Johnny Carson Tonight Show from July 29, 1983

Johnny Carson Tonight Show from July 29, 1983

Here’s a vintage episode of the Tonight show starring Johnny Carson from July 29, 1983 featuring Carrie Fisher, a send-up of the Carter-Reagan Debate with Carson playing both roles, and Garry Shandling.

The big news in the summer of ’83 was the Presidential election with sitting President Jimmy Carter running against former California Governor (and Hollywood B-lister) Ronald Reagan. Spoiler alert: Reagan won.

This is a solid example of what the Tonight show experience was all about in the early 1980s, Johnny Carson being one of the most beloved personalities in American history. He made hosting all of those disparate stars over the years look effortless.

A long-running gag, Carson gets his zingers in about Burbank, a suburb of Los Angeles where the late night program was taped. “It’s a strange community,” Carson quipped. “Where else in the world would you see a nun driving a Mercedes with a personalized license plate that says, ‘God’s Gal?’”

Carrie Fisher appears on the show for the first time, plugging Return of the Jedi. Garry Shandling was one of Carson’s funniest and edgier comic guests, he always killed. Shandling guest-hosted Tonight several times then based his 1992-1998 series, The Larry Sanders Show, on the experience.

Carson hosted the Tonight show from October 1, 1962 through May 22, 1992, the next to the last episode being one of the greatest television programs of all time.

 

DID YOU KNOW: Carson's first guests on the Tonight show were Rudy ValléeTony BennettMel Brooks, and Joan Crawford.

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"My role on the show never was strictly defined. I did what had to be done when it had to be done. I was there when he needed me, and when he didn't I moved down the couch and kept quiet."
- Tonight second banana Ed McMahon

 


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