Johnny Carson Gets the Last Laugh

This week Johnny Carson 79 died of emphysema. He was the host of the The Tonight Show for over 30 years (yes, there was a guy before Jay Leno). Ed McMahon was his sidekick although he was perhaps better known as the guy who is going to send everyone of us a cheque for a million dollars in the sweepstakes draw.

Johnny’s first word’s when introduced by Groucho Marx with weak response from the audience was “Boy, you would think it was Vice President Nixon”. He had a terrific run and really set the pace for the late night talk show format. However like all good things Johnny’s final parting words during his last show on May 22 1992 was “And so it has come to this. I am one of the luckiest people in the world. I have found something I liked to do and I have enjoyed every single minute of it. I bid you a very heartfelt goodnight”

It does make me think of a couple of things. For one, when he retired, he retired. He didn’t do the Oscars or other things celebrities may move on to. Instead he went on in his private life. Perhaps it was because he had nothing else to prove. He was not hanging on looking for fulfillment. He had had his career and had gotten everything that he wanted to get out of it.

He sounds lucky doesn’t he? Well, I think he created his luck. He had the talent and the ability and he followed through on doors that opened for him and was prepared for taking advantage of opportunity. One of the components of a fulfilled life is meaningful work. If you work is meaningful you will leave a legacy and walk away with a sense of completion. I see this in my clients everyday and not one of them is a talk show host…

“Heeeeere’s Johnny”