Sorry you're young.  

Posted by Tony Guerrero

I just saw a clip of the old Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Don't you miss him? Oh, what's that? You're too young to have watched him? Well, I'm sorry for you. I'm glad I grew up in a time when Carson was still on the air.

Actually, now that I'm thinking about it...

I've always been into older entertainers - from classic jazz musicians to the classic comedians like the Marx Bros., Jack Benny, George Burns, etc. I feel like my life was made richer by not limiting myself to just the entertainers and musicians who were popular with my age group. Of course, all the acts that were big when I was in high school and college are now considered old and largely irrelevant (although some, like U2 and The Police, still elicit awe). But that's kind of my point here. I think anyone who isn't aware of stuff that was once 'cool' in the past - before their own 'era' - is missing out (and may be in for a shock when someday their own faves are considered passe).

Carson, for example, was a class act. All the guys doing it now at varying levels of success (Letterman, Leno, Conan, Ferguson, Kimmel) really do pale by comparison - that's not just my opinion, as they'd agree with me. And while there are great bands out there now, none have matched classics like the Beatles. And while there are funny comedians working today, few can actually hold an audience and sustain a career without resorting to foul language and offensive material like the old masters did.

I'm glad I learned at an early age not to focus on just what was 'cool' for the moment and to check out acts from the past. If that's not you, I encourage you to start checking out stuff that predates your usual tastes - from the 80's on back to the 20's. Lots of it is 'cooler' than you may think.

I challenge you to go rent a Marx Bros movie and sit through the whole thing (I like "A Night At The Opera"). Anyone else have some old faves people should be checking out?

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at Thursday, March 27, 2008 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


Indeed. Thanks for making being a bit older not sting so much this morning. ;-)

3/27/2008 11:44 AM

Tony -
I just found your blog and am enjoying it. Johnny Carson was the best of all times on the Tonight Show. Your son will be born around my birthday which is 4-16. However I will be 74 then! We have met at church. Love your piano playing. You have a "Southern Gospel" sound. I also have a blog which started ion February. Contact me at and I will send you the information.
Dick Moore

3/29/2008 9:06 AM

i'm really glad you never learned how to be "cool", too.

and i'll have you know that i LOVE(D) johnny carson...i vividly remember when it was announced that he would be replaced with jay leno. it was a sad day in my childhood.

some of my favorite movies of all time are quite previous to my (and your) era(s):

My Man Godfrey (one of the first movies to make a mockery of the upper class during the Depression. it's amazing and i can quote the whole thing if you'd like. watch the 1930's version, not the 1950's one...and DON'T watch it colorized. it loses some of it's charm.)

North to Alaska (John Wayne romantic comedy set during the gold rush in alaska. AMAZING. i have seen this movie by far more than any other movie. watch carefully in the very last seen, there's a guy that sneezes in the can hear it and everything. it's hilarious.)

Once Upon a Time in the West (a not-that-old italian western...seriously beautifully done. worth every brilliantly produced minute...all 160 something of them.)

see? i like old classics. which is probably why i can be friends with you.

3/29/2008 5:28 PM

I am probably just a "tad" older than you (I will be 45 in May) and watched Johnny Carson every night. Carnac was the best...the animals crawling on his head...all the 'new' music he introduced...LOVED it!
It's funny. When I tell people that I was baptized by Rick Warren I always say, "That's the equivalent of having been interviewed by Johnny Carson."

3/31/2008 10:50 AM

One of the funniest movies I've ever seen from back in the day is "What's Up Doc" - with Babs - am I on your cool list now?
And, I loved Richard Prior and his movies, does that count? :)

4/07/2008 3:34 PM

I totally agree. I am blessed to have parents who introduced me to their generation of entertainment, culture and history. These days, not many of my friends (that are my age) know who Groucho or his brothers were, or know how Carson is the influence of todays comedians, who like you said pale in comparison. It's almost sad, because I think in recent years our standards for comedy and good music and writing have plummeted drastically. And kids think that what's cool now is superior.

4/10/2008 3:56 PM

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