BootLeg Betty

BetteBack May 21, 1992: Johnny Carson’s Last Show With Fave Entertainer Bette Midler

Daily Herald
Huge outpouring carries Carson to tonight’s last show
May 22, 1992

BURBANK, Calif — It took two minutes 15 seconds, and countless pleadings, for the crowd in NBC’s Studio One to sit down and stop cheering as Johnny Carson made his final appearance before a public audience Thursday.

“Come on, now really. I don’t think I can stand any more of this,” a clearly embarrassed Carson said.

But Thursday night was the end after 30 years, as America knows it, of “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” It was the last opportunity for the 66-year-old Carson to thump his pencil in the presence of celebrity guests and a public audience.

When Carson signs off Friday night, 10.35 p.n Channel 5, he’ll go solo before an invitation-only audience. Meanwhile, Carson fulfilled his nightly duty of delivering his monologue.

“I’m going to have to be very honest with you,” Carson told the audience. “I don’t know if I can take another day of this.”

Robin Williams and Bette Midler were Carson’s final visitors, and each unleashed their own brand of frenetic bawdiness.

Williams brought down the house and doubled Carson over while speaking about the large dimensions of his 6-month-old son’s testicles. Carson burst out laughing.

“We’re outta here tomorrow,” he gasped, throwing up his hands. “What do I care, what are they going to do? Fire me'”

Things took a more sentimental turn when Midler, one of Carson’s favorite entertainers, walked on stage. She belted out a tune with Doc Severinsen‘s band, warbled a letter she had written titled “Dear Mr. Carson,” and ended the show by lovingly singing “One More For My Baby” to a misty-eyed Carson.

Despite the overwhelming hype, Johnny Carson was somehow able to sit back and be given one of his greatest shows.

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