1. "A friend of mine, Richard Lewis, said, "You have monopolized the obvious" … and I thought that was a good way of describing my comedy. And I just got up there and did what I did on the street corner at 60th and Osage Street [in Philadelphia]: I just got up in front of Moe’s Candy Store with my friends … a car would go by, I’d make fun of the car, person, boom. …That all came from the street corner."

    - Comedian David Brenner speaking to Fresh Air in 1990

    The Philadelphia native died Saturday at 78. He was best known for appearing on The Tonight Show over 150 times.

  2. david brenner

    the tonight show

    johnny carson

    comedy

    philadelphia

  1. Above: Johnny Carson and his long-time producer of The Tonight Show, Fred De Cordova.
De Cordova spoke to Fresh Air’s Terry Gross in 1988 about his relationship to Carson and his attitude about producing their iconic program:

Our show is kind of like a baseball team in a baseball season. If you do one show a year or one show every three months or one show every four months you have an awful lot of time to realize what a failure you’ve been. But we do kind of a baseball season, we do a show one night and we hope it’s wonderful, and if not that we hope it’s good, and we hope it isn’t bad. But even if it’s a great show or even if it’s not such a good show, we do another show the next night and we have no time except in self-analysis to decide why it wasn’t good or even why it was very good. We just do the next show and hope that will be a good one.

    Above: Johnny Carson and his long-time producer of The Tonight Show, Fred De Cordova.

    De Cordova spoke to Fresh Air’s Terry Gross in 1988 about his relationship to Carson and his attitude about producing their iconic program:

    Our show is kind of like a baseball team in a baseball season. If you do one show a year or one show every three months or one show every four months you have an awful lot of time to realize what a failure you’ve been. But we do kind of a baseball season, we do a show one night and we hope it’s wonderful, and if not that we hope it’s good, and we hope it isn’t bad. But even if it’s a great show or even if it’s not such a good show, we do another show the next night and we have no time except in self-analysis to decide why it wasn’t good or even why it was very good. We just do the next show and hope that will be a good one.

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    fresh air

    fred de cordova

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  1. David Letterman spoke to Terry Gross in 1981 when he was best known as a substitute host for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. The interview is a fun artifact from a time when Letterman was beginning to find his own voice and style.
Fresh Air’s TV reviewer David Bianculli shares the mic with Terry and gives us an intro to the Letterman chapter of the story.

Bianculli: When he wants to he can be a great interviewer and can also be a genuine, what I call “a genuine broadcaster.” Someone who can speak one on one, as if the camera is just a friend. 

In the 1981 interview Letterman tells Terry about his admiration for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show and trying to find his place:

Letterman: …Johnny Carson has made the monologue on The Tonight Show an art form. And he does it better than anyone will ever do it. By filling in for him the comparison is always obvious and you always come up second best. 

via NYmag View in High-Res

    David Letterman spoke to Terry Gross in 1981 when he was best known as a substitute host for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. The interview is a fun artifact from a time when Letterman was beginning to find his own voice and style.

    Fresh Air’s TV reviewer David Bianculli shares the mic with Terry and gives us an intro to the Letterman chapter of the story.

    Bianculli: When he wants to he can be a great interviewer and can also be a genuine, what I call “a genuine broadcaster.” Someone who can speak one on one, as if the camera is just a friend.

    In the 1981 interview Letterman tells Terry about his admiration for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show and trying to find his place:

    Letterman: …Johnny Carson has made the monologue on The Tonight Show an art form. And he does it better than anyone will ever do it. By filling in for him the comparison is always obvious and you always come up second best.

    via NYmag

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    late night week

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  1. Monday night on PBS, American Masters presents a two-hour biography of Johnny Carson. Carson retired 20 years ago this month, and vacated a throne that TV critic David Bianculli says no one has managed to claim since.
Do you agree? View in High-Res

    Monday night on PBS, American Masters presents a two-hour biography of Johnny Carson. Carson retired 20 years ago this month, and vacated a throne that TV critic David Bianculli says no one has managed to claim since.

    Do you agree?

  2. johnny carson

    late night tv

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