Johnny Carson's Final Appearance on Television

David Letterman's retirement is in the news. And while I haven't watched much of Letterman (or other late night TV) in about 20 years, Letterman's retirement leaves me sad because his show was such a huge part of my teen years. Like many others who've spoken out in the wake of the news - Judd Apatow, Jimmy Kimmel, Jim Gaffigan, Seth Meyers, many others - my sense of humor was profoundly influenced by Dave. Those guys all became rich and famous as a result of Dave's inspiration. I just became a smartass.

So I'll be posting some of my favorite Letterman clips on Nifty Niblets in the days and weeks and months to come. But let's start by sharing a clip of the man who was one of Letterman's heroes: Johnny Carson. Carson did a surprise walk-on to The Late Show with David Letterman when Dave was doing a week of shows in California.

It happened on May 13, 1994, and it was the last time Carson ever appeared on television:

A nice companion piece to the above is the heartfelt tribute by Letterman to Carson on the first Late Show that aired following Carson's death in 2005. It begins with Letterman telling jokes written for him by Carson in the opening monologue: