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I wouldn't totally rule out doing Letterman or the Tonight Show if I had a set that I just happened to write that I thought was funny but was still appropriate for network censors. But I'm not going to go out of my way.
In 1980, when I graduated from high school, my goal was to be on 'The Tonight Show' with Johnny Carson at least once before our ten-year class reunion. Our class reunion was in June of 1990, and I was on 'The Tonight Show' in April 1990, so I made it by a few months.
I've been doing comedy longer than I haven't been doing comedy, as I was performing for three years before I even got on 'The Tonight Show.' There's truly nothing like it; it's intense and exhilarating, even though it looks so casual.
Every comedian dreams of hosting 'The Tonight Show' and, for seven months, I got to. I did it my way, with people I love, and I do not regret a second.
When I was a kid, you would tune in to 'The Tonight Show' before you went to sleep. Johnny Carson. A big treat. I know it's a privilege of mine to be able to be in people's homes. So I hope I make everyone proud, including my parents, and do a good job in this.
When I was young, I'd watch guys on 'The Tonight Show', Buddy Hackett, guys like that, where all they'd be is funny. Later, I remember, on 'Late Night with Letterman', I remember he'd have Jay Leno and Richard Lewis as first guests and the entire point was to entertain and be funny, and I think talk shows have kind of lost that.
I did the 'Tonight Show' once, and I choked up. I get intimidated.
You know, I never knew if I had any talent when I started in this business. My first job was being a page at The Tonight Show. I saw Jack Paar come out one night and sit on the edge of his desk and talk about what he'd done the night before. I thought, 'I can do that!' I used to do that on a street corner in the Bronx with all my buddies.
It's really not that hard. If I do a Tonight Show, it's six or seven minutes. If I do a concert, it's 90 minutes. If I do an interview, that's 15 minutes. So by the end of the day I've done three hours worth of work.
I was supposed to be on the Tonight Show but I broke my shoulder instead.
Internet radio stations like KCRW do take you everywhere, yet that's just one of a hundred small things you have to do to succeed. It used to be, if you just got on the cover of 'Rolling Stone' and a spotlight on 'The Tonight Show,' that was enough.
I moved from Cleveland to L.A. with a girlfriend, we broke up, and I lived out of my car for a year and a half, on the road with nothing on my mind but getting my act good enough to be on 'The Tonight Show.'
After my 1985 appearance on 'The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,' I was wooed by producers in Hollywood, who told me they wanted to turn my act into a sitcom.
My first appearance as a guest on The Tonight Show was in '81.
It used to be that if you got on 'The Tonight Show,' your career was made. Now, if you're on 'The Tonight Show,' maybe 14 more people show up to your gig in Tulsa.
I was always the class clown; I made my family laugh, and that was when I was always happiest. I grew up listening to stand-up comedians' albums and watching them on TV, on 'The Tonight Show' and Letterman.
Yes, I'm supposed to go back to New York to do Geraldo, and we're going to be doing The Tonight Show.
I've always wanted to do a segment on a talk show. Jay Leno has been such a good friend, and if he would allow me, I'd have to get it all together, but I'd like to go on 'The Tonight Show' and do a set with no props. Or come out with a trunk and never touch it. Or come out with a clear trunk with nothing in it.
People don't know this, but early in your career, you don't just glide on to The Tonight Show.
When I did 'The Tonight Show' and Jay Leno was still there, he was very nice but it was surreal. It's like you can't believe you're standing there talking to that person. If you've seen them in a lot of movies or on TV you feel like you know them, just like my fans feel like they know me.
I've performed on 'The Tonight Show' with both Johnny Carson and Jay Leno, but not at the same time.
Thomas F. Wilson
When I got a call from Los Angeles to do the Tonight Show, I considered it more of an inconvenience than an opportunity.
I still sweat bullets if I go on The Tonight Show, but I tell myself, You can either have fun tonight or you can be shy and miserable. You ask my friends or anyone I work with now - nobody would say I was shy.
Lara Flynn Boyle
When Joan Rivers walked through the curtain on 'The Tonight Show,' nobody in my house was allowed to utter a sound. Her gait was full of pep and purpose and her voice unmatched.
There's always something about the Tonight Show that makes me a little bit anxious, nervous, excited. But it's good. It's good. It's been real good for me. It always has helped my career and Jay and all the people here have always been great.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
John F. Kennedy
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