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Sunday, January 23, 2005

Johnny, We'll miss you.

The imaginary golf swing, Carnac ("I hold in my hand, the last [loud applause] "- It was Ed's line but Johnny's reaction made the joke), The clumsy double-entendres, Jack Hanna's animals climbing all over him and relieving their frustrations (and other things), Good-naturedly frightening the potato-chip art lady by munching from a bowl of crisps hidden behind the desk, "I did not know that!" which sounds all too like him, Adjusting the collar and tie as though there were too much starch in it every night, his love of magic tricks (and some considerable talent there as well), the comic voices that always morphed into the same squirrely tone, introducing nearly every talented American comic well-known and working to the nation, the unbeliveably garish technicolor curtain - a holdover from the early days of color, the rare ability to take an awful joke and use it to his advantage...this was the gentleman who millons of Americans of all generations settled down with for the evening. When he stepped off the screen, it was like King Lear with all the children fighting for a piece of his comic late night kingdom (I fancy David Letterman the loyal child, though Jay Leno seems a good bloke) because here was a fellow who had given people a pretty good reason to stay up a bit later that evening. This was the guy who's show people were talking about around water coolers the next day.

He had his personal difficulties of course; several marriages and divorces, and some notable fallings out with people (de Cordova and Rivers come to mind) but then who is without the need for grace.

I'm reminded of the song off of U2's latest album, "One Step Closer". Johnny knows now. He has stepped over as all must into God's hands. His presence on the screen ended about 12 years ago, but now he's truly gone. This small-town Nebraska boy will be missed. He knew how to make us laugh.

All right, this is about as serious as this site will be allowed to get. When funny people pass on though, we notice.

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