40 of the Most Memorable Johnny Carson Quotes

Johnny Carson was a famous American Talk Show host who hosted The Tonight Show from 1962-1992. Before the show, Johnny was a well known comedian, TV host and producer. Johnny Carson received the Television Academy’s 1980, six Emmy Awards, and a Peabody Award in 1985. John was born on October 23, 1925 and died on 23rd January 2005.

After graduating from high school and service in the navy during World War II, Johnny Carson joined the University of Nebraska. During his time at the University, Carson worked for a radio station and also participated in the student’s theatrical activities. Johnny Carson was offered a Sunday afternoon comedy show that resulted in his hiring as a writer for the Red Skeleton’s show. During his, tenure Carson becomes a popular fan-favorite performer in the country.

Johnny Carson was initiated in the Television Academy Hall of Fame back in 1985. He was also gifted with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the year 1992 and later the Kennedy Center Honor in the year 1993.

Below is a collection of the most famous and interesting quotes about Johnny Carson derived from his interviews and shows among others.

Johnny Carson Quotes

1. “Never continue in a job you don’t enjoy. If you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll like yourself, you’ll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you will have had more success than you could possibly have imagined.”– Johnny Carson

2. “Did you know that Richard Nixon is the only president whose formal portrait was painted by a police sketch artist? By the way, Nixon isn’t worried about the gas shortage and that’s understandable, of course. Everything’s downhill for him.”– Johnny Carson

3. “Happiness is sitting down to watch some slides of your neighbor’s vacation and finding out that he spent two weeks in a nudist colony.”– Johnny Carson

4. “Before the show tonight, a sweet, elderly lady came up to me and says, “You know, I’d like to capture you on canvas.” I says, “You mean, you’d like to paint my portrait?” And she says, “No, I’ve got an army cot in my Winnebago.”– Johnny Carson

5. “Talent alone won’t make you a success. Neither will being in the right place at the right time, unless you are ready. The most important question is: ‘Are your ready?”– Johnny Carson

6. “I am one of the lucky People in the world: I found something I always wanted to do, and I have enjoyed every single minute of it.”– Johnny Carson

7. “The worst gift is a fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and People keep sending it to each other.”– Johnny Carson

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8. “Despite the fact that computer speeds are measured in nanoseconds and picoseconds – one billionth and one trillionth of a second, respectively – the smallest interval of time known to man is that which occurs in Manhattan between the traffic signal turning green and the taxi driver behind you blowing his horn.”– Johnny Carson

9. “Your chances of getting struck by lightning go up if you stand under a tree, shake your fist at the sky, and say “Storms suck!”– Johnny Carson

10. “Married men live longer than single men. But married men are a lot more willing to die.”– Johnny Carson

11. “Democracy means that anyone can grow up to be president, and anyone who doesn’t grow up can be vice president.”– Johnny Carson

12. “Desire! That’s the one secret of every man’s career. Not education. Not being born with hidden talents. Desire.”– Johnny Carson

13. “New York is an exciting town where something is happening all the time, most of it unsolved.”– Johnny Carson

14. “I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex, and rich food. He was healthy right up to the time he killed himself.”– Johnny Carson

15. “Happiness is your dentist telling you it won’t hurt and then having him catch his hand in the drill.”– Johnny Carson

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16. “I was going to hang it up on the twenty-fifth year of this show. I don’t know why. Maybe twenty-five years is enough. And I found out that I was having so much fun doing the show that we decided to stick around for a while.”– Johnny Carson

17. “To be an entertainer, you gotta be a little gutsy, a little egotistical, so you have to pull back sometimes When People say, ‘Well, he’s stuck-up.’ ‘Stuck-up’ is only another word for self-conscious.”– Johnny Carson

18. “And so it has come to this: I, uh … am one of the lucky People in the world; I found something I always wanted to do, and I have enjoyed every single minute of it. I want to thank the gentlemen who’ve shared this stage with me for thirty years, Mr. Ed McMahon … Mr. Doc Severinsen … and … you People watching, I can only tell you that it has been an honor and a privilege to come into your homes all these years and entertain you—and I hope When I find something that I want to do, and I think you would like, and come back, that you’ll be as gracious in inviting me into your home as you have been. I bid you a very heartfelt good night.”– Johnny Carson

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19. “There is a power struggle going on between President Reagan’s advisers. Moe and Curly are out. Larry is stil in.”– Johnny Carson

20. “There was this billy goat at a movie studio who found and ate a can of film. When a nanny asked him how he liked it, he said, “It was all right but I liked the book better.”– Johnny Carson

21. “The difference between a divorce and a legal separation is that a legal separation gives a husband time to hide his money.”– Johnny Carson

22. ‘The only thing money gives you is the freedom of not worrying about money.”–Johnny Carson

23. “If it weren`t for Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor of the television, we`d still be eating frozen radio dinners.”– Johnny Carson

24. “When a comic becomes enamored with his own views and foists them off on the public in a polemic way, he loses not only his sense of humor but his value as a humorist.”– Johnny Carson

25. “Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with People they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often.”– Johnny Carson

26. “If life was fair, Elvis would still be alive and all the impersonators dead.”– Johnny Carson

27. “Some sad news from Australia… the inventor of the boomerang grenade died today.”– Johhny Carson

28. “Ronald Reagan just signed the new tax law. But I think he was in Hollywood too long. He signed it, ‘Best wishes, Ronald Reagan.”– Johnny Carson

29. ” In 1932, lame duck president Herbert Hoover was so desperate to remain in the White House that he dressed up as Eleanor Roosevelt. When FDR discovered the hoax in 1936, the two men decided to stay together for the sake of the children.”– Johnny Carson

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30. “There are very few Japanese Jews. As a result, there is no Japanese word for Alan King.”– Johnny Carson

31. “People thought I was funny, so I kind of took entertaining for granted… it was inevitable that I’d start giving little performances.”– Johnny Carson

32. “I know you’ve been married to the same woman for 69 years. That is marvelous. It must be very inexpensive.”– Johnny Carson

33. “Our own Fred de Cordova was a passenger on the Titanic, a lot of People don’t know that. Fred escaped by using a little old lady as a flotation device.”– Johnny Carson

34. “My success just evolved from working hard at the business at hand each day.”– Johnny Carson

35. “The mind starts to do things that you didn’t even realize it could do. I suppose it’s the manipulation. I suppose it’s the sense of power, the center of attention, and the me-ism. And performers have to have that.”– Johnny Carson

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36. “Anytime four New Yorkers get into a cab together without arguing, a bank robbery has just taken place.”– Johnny Carson

37. “There comes a time or a moment When you know in which direction you’re going to go. I know it happened to me When I was quite young.”– Johnny Carson

38. “Adults ask questions as a child does. When you stop wondering, you might as well put your rocker on the front porch and call it a day.”– Johnny Carson

39. “I can’t say I ever wanted to become an entertainer. I already was one, sort of-around the house, at school, doing my magic tricks, throwing my voice and doing Popeye impersonations. People thought I was funny; so I kind of took entertaining for granted It was inevitable that I’d start giving little performances.”– Johnny Carson

40. “I couldn’t care less what anybody says about me. I live my life, especially my personal life, strictly for myself…. Whatever you do, you’re going to be criticized. I feel the one sensible thing you can do is try to live in a way that pleases you.”– Johnny Carson

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Johnny Carson Tonight Show – Rodney Dangerfield has Non-Stop One Liners!

This is one of the funniest clips ever from the Tonight Show. The hilarious comedian Rodney Dangerfield had so many quick one liners that Johnny could not stop laughing and had to take a commercial break!


Johnny Carson was a comedic legend who was watched by millions every night back at the peak of US Late Night TV. His show The Tonight Show was one of the most watched regular tv shows in history!

Any American who watched TV during the 70’s or 80’s knows Johnny Carson. He remains a legend in the the space of late night talk shows. Walter Cronkite was a famous news anchor during this time period.

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“Johnny Carson” by sammykatz1951 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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