Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel and Fox News talker Sean Hannity did the twitter nasty dance Friday and Saturday trading barbs with each other and calling the other a slew of names.
Our colleagues over at Twitchy covered it here with these posts.
I’m going to let others debate if Kimmel’s apology was actually one, or if it was enough.
I just wanted to make just a basic observation from someone who has been around long enough to remember with fondness when late night T.V. was actually funny. Something that most of today’s hosts have seemed to have forgotten.
Johnny Carson was the host of The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson on NBC for 30 years from 1962 until 1992. He was number one that whole time.
Now, of course, it was a MUCH different time without Netflix, 300 different cable channels and 20 other late night hosts, yet Carson ruled the late night genre and defeated all the challengers to his reign during those years.
Jimmy Kimmel and most of the other late night hosts credit Carson in part for getting them interested in the idea of being in show business.
So why was Johhny a beloved cultural icon and these hosts seem a bit unhinged at times?
Simply because Johnny Carson knew where to draw the line doing comedy and interviews.
Johnny and The Tonight Show was the place for people of all political points of view, faiths or culture to get treated equally and get brought down a notch with humor.
From everything I have ever read Carson, was a liberal and a big contributor to lefty causes but you would never know it from watching his show. He made fun of everything and did it with a wicked twist of dry humor but he never picked sides on the show.
Johnny knew to hit all sides equally and the audience will stay no matter what their personal point of view is. Make them laugh and all will be ok in the ratings.
Nowadays, talk show hosts like Kimmel seem to be modeling themselves after David Letterman who during his run at CBS, morphed into an angry old man yelling “GET OFF MY LAWN” while also creepily asking you if you wanted some candy.
Letterman politicized the talk show format and he suffered for it.
I would humbly suggest that if Jimmy wanted to steer clear of these viewers and rating buster landmines and maybe successfully host the Oscars ( Carson did so FIVE times to rave reviews) he does one thing in the future.
Ask yourself just one question before you tweet or write a joke.
What Would Johnny Carson Do? ( WWJCD)
Your network will thank you for the improved ratings and you will make Americans from all points of view laugh.
Just like Johnny did.