Why Dick Cavett Said Almost Nobody ‘Had as Hard of a Time’ as Johnny Carson

Johnny Carson was a late night TV guest The Tonight Show by Johnny Carson for three decades. He spoke to film and TV celebrities, comedians and industry experts. Why did his colleague, TV personality / comedian Dick Cavett say that “Why have a hard time?”

Johnny Carson on the show TONIGHT BEGINS JOHNNY CARSON
Johnny Carson on the last episode of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson on May 22, 1992 Alice S. Hall Photo Bank / NBCU

‘The Tonight Show’ guest Johnny Carson had a ‘nervous’ personality, according to his friend Dick Cavett

In 2019, Peter Jones spoke Closer to each week about his documentary Johnny Carson: King of Late Night. Through his research on Carson, Jones found out a lot more about the personality of the behind-the-scenes TV host.

“He was the most famous man in America, but there was something unknown about him,” said the filmmaker. There was a great disconnect between his Show tonight demeanor and his true personality, Jones said.

“It was this mean, debonair man on TV who was very embarrassed at parties because he was so awful at making a small speech,” he explained.

One trick that helped Why out at social gatherings?

“He would have a deck of cards and do magic tricks just to reduce the tension,” Jones said.

Cavett, the comedian and host of a talk show, also told the publication about Carson’s off-screen personal behavior.

“I felt sorry for Johnny because he was so uncomfortable socially,” he said. “I’ve almost never met anyone who had such a hard time.”

Dick Cavett in an interview with guest Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show
Dick Cavett in an interview with guest Johnny Carson on it The Tonight Show by Johnny Carson on February 17, 1976 | Frank Carroll / NBCU Photo Bank

He is often a guest The Show tonight, a comedian by the name of Tom Dreesen, expands on who Carson was behind the scenes:

He never interacted with you before the show because he felt he would give up the energy. And he hated advertising because he didn’t have much to say. I would prepare things to talk about between trading products so I could interact with it.

The least-loved guest of ‘The Tonight Show’ was unveiled posthumously

Although Carson didn’t seem to like talking to anyone, there was even one guest The Show tonight that he hated to be spoken to.

When Richard Zoglin wrote a 2014 biography Hope: the entertainment of the age – and published a section in People – the truth was revealed.

Why did comedian Bob Hope fear his guest The Tonight’s show with Johnny Carson.

Hope’s pre-scripted, optimistic practices only grew over the years. Zoglin wrote in his book:

In the years that followed, as his hearing and sight failed, Hope’s guest guests became even more like an experiment. He often had difficulty raising Carson’s questions, and Johnny had to stick to the notes given to him by the staff: if he put a question out of order, Hope might answer a question between different. However, Hope kept coming to the show, his frailties on the full show to the national TV audience.

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