Bellbottom Blog

Scratching A Writing Itch From Time To Time

Johnny, Garry, and me

From 1:00 to 3:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, I put the remote down because I knew there was nothing else on television as interesting to me as American Masters: Johnny Carson on PBS.

For 30 years Johnny Carson held court on the Tonight Show.

As a young kid, I couldn’t wait to be old enough to stay up for the Tonight Show.

I could hear my mom laughing and I wanted to know what it was she found so funny.

Sometimes in the summer, she would let me stay up for the monologue. Maybe the first guest if I was good. It was a rite of passage.

There wasn’t anything like that on prime time television.

When I became old enough to watch more often. I watched almost every night for years.  Not every night was a gem, but when he was on, there wasn’t any talk show that was  better.

On the documentary, several comedians talked about how their lives were changed by getting a chance to appear on the Tonight Show.

Jerry Seinfeld. David Letterman. Jay Leno. Garry Shandling. Ellen DeGeneres. Ray Romano.

A great documentary. It is online at PBS.Com if you want to watch it. No signup. No paywall. Free.

So, after I watched it that night, I noticed on my Twitter feed that Garry Shandling had tweeted about the show.

Garry Shandling was the star and brains behind a wonderful piece of television history called The Larry Sanders Show. It was about a man who had a talk show and all that went on in front of and behind the cameras on such an endeavor.  The show had a great cast and wonderful writers. Shows like The Office and 30 Rock owe a lot to him. He blazed the trail they are now following.

Anyway, the tweet went as follows,”I think Peter Jones, director of the Johnny Carson doc did a fantastic job. Don’t make me tweet it a third time!”

I looked at that for a while and remembered the story he told near the end of the documentary about where he was the day Johnny passed away and how he felt and reacted to the news. Very moving story.

So, I sent the following tweet, “would it have killed you to wear a tie?”

With that I closed Twitter for the night.

A few hours later, I looked at Twitter to see what everyone was up to.

In my mentions was a response from Garry Shandling.

It said,”yes (Funny).”

Most of my interaction on Twitter is with you folks that come here to this blog and I really enjoy the conversations we have. On a few occasions, I have had something I wrote re-tweeted or Favorited by people who do comedy for a living. It is such a cool thing when it happens.

Several hours before this exchange with Mr. Shandling, I wrote a tweet to Andy Kindler that he retweeted along with eight others.

That tweet went like this,” Stern on America’s Got Talent.Kiss on Dancing With The Stars. Ted Nugent on politics. Maybe the Mayans meant 2011.”

I was happy and as always surprised by the reaction, but it pales in comparison to Garry Shandling saying “(Funny)”.

I guess this falls into the #humblebrag category.

So be it.







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4 thoughts on “Johnny, Garry, and me

  1. Oh, that is EXCITING! I used to stay up very, very late to watch Garry Shandling’s show when I was young. I don’t know that I understood most of it, but it made me laugh so hard. I would have been starstruck had he tweeted me back. (I think I’ve had three or four celebs respond to me on Twitter since I started, and every time I was so stunned I almost died. I get easily gobsmacked by celebrities.)

    He’s right, of course. You are funny. Smart man.

    • I can’t begin to tell you how much joy that tweet gave me. Comedians are my favorite thing in entertainment. As always, you had the perfect word. Gobsmacked. That’s the way I felt.

  2. This is a great story John. I’ll be Stateside for the next few weeks, so I’m sure I’ll be watching more than my share of PBS. Thanks for the tip…I’ll also check it out on the website.

    Oh, I had a roommate in school who was from Chicago. His dad would clip Mike Royko columns (Chicago Tribune) and record Carson monologues onto cassette tapes and send them in his care packages. We had a lot of fun just listening to Johnny’s voice. Like we were on a dessert island and this was our only connection to civilisation. In a way that’s what it was.

    • A Mike Royko mention. This just gets better and better. I used to search all over town to find a Chicago Tribune when he was writing. Most of the curbside boxes only held a few, so if I got there too late it became a scramble. He wrote during a golden age in Chicago journalism. There were so many excellent writers in all fields. But Royko was heads and shoulders above all of them.
      When you do watch it hang around for the end credits, they have one extra Johnny and Ed moment. It is not about goats, but close.

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