121+ Best Johnny Carson Quotes: Exclusive Selection

John William Carson was an American television host, writer, producer, and comedian who, as host of The Tonight Show from 1962 to 1992. Carson established the standard format for television chat shows and came to be considered the king of late-night television. Inspirational Johnny Carson quotes, catchphrases and one liners will fire up your brain and inspire you to look at life differently while making you laugh.

If you’re searching for funny quotes by famous comedians that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of quotes by W.C. Fields, best Charlie Chaplin quotes and greatest Joe Rogan quotes.

Famous Johnny Carson Quotes

Mail your packages early so the post office can lose them in time for Christmas. – Johnny Carson

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

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

Last night, it was so cold, the flashers in New York were only describing themselves. – Johnny Carson

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

I don’t run with anybody’s herd. I don’t like crowds. I don’t like going to fancy places. I don’t like the whole nightclub scene. Cocktail parties drive me mad. So, I do my job and I stay away from the rest of it. – Johnny Carson

Americans, too many of them, take themselves too seriously. You’re going to get rapped – by the viewers, by the sponsors and by the network brass – if you joke about doctors, lawyers, dentists, scientists, bus drivers, I don’t care who. You can’t make a joke about Catholics, Negroes, Jews, Italians, politicians, dogs or cats. In fact, politicians, dogs and cats are the most sacred institutions in America. – Johnny Carson

Believe me, you don’t walk away from the kind of money you make with a daily television show. You might get awful tired of it sometimes but take a second look at the check and you get less tired right away. – Johnny Carson

I’ve worked ever since I was a kid with a two-bit kit of magic tricks trying to improve my skills at entertaining whatever public I had – and to make myself ready, whenever the breaks came, to entertain a wider and more demanding public. – Johnny Carson

How much of the national news that you report to the public each night consists of information you’ve actually gone out and dug up on your own? – Johnny Carson

George Burns has been on my show twenty or thirty times, or maybe more. How can you turn down a guy that age? – Johnny Carson

Money gives me just one big thing that’s really important, and that’s the freedom of not having to worry about money. – Johnny Carson

Democracy is welcoming people from other lands and giving them something to hold onto. Usually a mop or a leaf blower. – Johnny Carson

I feel the one sensible thing you can do is try to live in a way that pleases you. If you don’t hurt anybody else, what you do is your own business. – Johnny Carson

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

An oxymoron? What’s that? A moron who studies at Oxford? – Johnny Carson

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

Pie throwing is kind of a lost art, and although it may be a rather rudimentary, burlesque humor, there’s something inherently funny about taking a pie in the face, under the right conditions. – Johnny Carson

If God didn’t want man to hunt, He wouldn’t have given us plaid shirts. – Johnny Carson

We resort, frankly, to pies, which is a comedy staple that’s gone back, I guess, to since the first pie was ever baked. – Johnny Carson

I work because I enjoy what I’m doing, and the fact that I make money at it – big money – is a fine-and-dandy side fact. – Johnny Carson

I never analyze it. Analyzing it would just be a waste of time. I just go out and do it. – Johnny Carson

Never marry a girl named ‘Marie’ who used to be known as ‘Murray’. – Johnny Carson

I would like to say, for the record, that I am in favor of using more American Indians and other minorities in motion pictures, I am against polluting the oceans of the world, I am for every nationality having its own homeland, I am against whacking baby seals on the head, and I am for saving the whales. – Johnny Carson

If variety is the spice of life, marriage is the big can of leftover Spam. – Johnny Carson

I wouldn’t have the slightest interest in running for public office. I’d rather make jokes about politicians than become one of them. – Johnny Carson

There’s only one critic whose opinion I really value, in the final analysis: Johnny Carson. I have never needed any entourage standing around bolstering my ego. I’m secure. I know exactly who and what I am. I don’t need to be told. I make no apologies for being the way I am. – Johnny Carson

Everybody I meet in public seems to want to audition for me. If I ask a guy what time it is, he’ll sing it to me. – Johnny Carson

I was so naive as a kid I used to sneak behind the barn and do nothing. – Johnny Carson

According to statistics, it’s a lot easier to get hit by lightning than to win a Lotto jackpot. The good side: you don’t hear from your relatives. – Johnny Carson

The closest thing to Roseanne Barr’s singing the national anthem was my cat being neutered. – Johnny Carson

Happiness is seeing the muscular lifeguard all the girls were admiring leave the beach hand in hand with another muscular lifeguard. – Johnny Carson

When turkeys mate, they think of swans. – Johnny Carson

If it weren’t for Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor of television, we’d still be eating frozen radio dinners. – Johnny Carson

A two-pound turkey and a fifty-pound cranberry-that’s Thanksgiving dinner at Three Mile Island. – Johnny Carson

As you all know by now, this is the 51st annual Academy Awards. Two hours of sparkling entertainment spread out over a four-hour show. – Johnny Carson

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

What’s all this fuss about plutonium? How can something named after a Disney character be dangerous? – Johnny Carson

Happiness is discovering the prune juice your doctor ordered you to drink has fermented. – Johnny Carson

For days after death hair and fingernails continue to grow, but phone calls taper off. – Johnny Carson

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

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

I hear that whenever someone in the White House tells a lie, Nixon gets a royalty. – Johnny Carson

Did you know Richard Nixon is the only president whose formal portrait was painted by a police sketch artist? – Johnny Carson

Happiness is seeing your son drafted the same day he’s been accepted to an expensive college. – Johnny Carson

I have no use for eight houses, 88 cars and 500 suits. I can’t eat but one steak at a time. I don’t want but one woman. It’s silly to have as one’s sole object in life just making money, accumulating wealth. – Johnny Carson

New York is an exciting town where something is happening all the time, most unsolved. – Johnny Carson

Some sad news from Australia… the inventor of the boomerang grenade died today. – Johnny Carson

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

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 you ready?’ – Johnny Carson

I hated my last boss. He asked, why are you two hours late? I said, I fell downstairs. He said, that doesn’t take two hours. – Johnny Carson

Whatever you do, you’re going to be criticized. – Johnny Carson

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

Never use a big word when a little filthy one will do. – Johnny Carson

People will pay more to be entertained than educated. – Johnny Carson

Democracy is buying a big house you can’t afford with money you don’t have to impress people you wish were dead. – Johnny Carson

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

Happiness is having a rare steak, a bottle of whiskey, and a dog to eat the rare steak. – Johnny Carson

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

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

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

Happiness is finding two olives in your martini when you’re hungry. – Johnny Carson

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

Never ask your wife if she still hears from her old pimp. – Johnny Carson

The price of Christmas toys is outrageous – a hundred dollars, two hundred dollars for video games for the youngsters. I remember a Christmas years ago when my son was a kid. I bought him a tank. It was about a hundred dollars, a lot of money in those days. It was the kind of tank you could actually get inside and ride in. He played in the box it came in. It taught me a very valuable lesson. Next year he got a box. And I got a hundred dollars’ worth of scotch. – Johnny Carson

Happiness is being stuck in an elevator and discovering the ravishing blonde with you is a liquor salesman with a case of samples. – Johnny Carson

In Hollywood if you don’t have a shrink, people think you’re crazy. – Johnny Carson

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

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

For three days after death, hair and fingernails continue to grow but phone calls taper off. – Johnny Carson

guess what they want for a new four-door Chevy? – Johnny Carson

To this day I can’t get aroused until I see a pair of rubber dice hanging from the mirror – Johnny Carson

I play my life straight – the way I see it. I’m grateful to audiences for watching me and for enjoying what I do – but I’m not one of those who believe that a successful entertainer is made by the public, as is so often said. – Johnny Carson

I’m an entertainer; I try to give the public what it wants while I’m on the screen, and I’m completely sincere about it. If I don’t happen to be a laughing boy off the screen, that doesn’t make me a hypocrite or a phony. – Johnny Carson

When the public starts classifying you as thoughtful, someone given to serious issues, you find yourself declassified as a humorist. – Johnny Carson

Who cares what entertainers on the air think about international affairs? Who would want to hear me about Vietnam? They can hear all they want from people with reason to be respected as knowledgeable. – Johnny Carson

I think students ought to have the right to protest, but not to the point of anarchy. – Johnny Carson

There’s a big difference between being a loner and being lonely. I’m far from lonely. My day is full of things I enjoy, starting with my show. Any time my work is going well and I have a relationship with a woman that’s pretty solid, that does it for me. – Johnny Carson

I think it’s almost immoral to keep on with a marriage that’s really bad. It just gets more and more rotten and vindictive and everybody gets more and more hurt. There’s not enough honesty about marriage, I think. I wish more people would face the truth about their marital situations. – Johnny Carson

I owe one thing to my public – the best performance I can give. – Johnny Carson

I can’t go anywhere without being bugged by somebody. I’d love to just hike out down the street, or drop in a restaurant, or wander in the park, or take my kids somewhere without collecting a trail of people. But I can’t. – Johnny Carson

You become successful, the way I see it, only if you’re good enough to deliver what the public enjoys. If you’re not, you won’t have any audience; so, the performer really has more to do with his success than the public does. – Johnny Carson

Entertainment is like any other major industry; it’s cold, big business. The business end wants to know one thing: Can you do the job? If you can, you’re in, you’re made; if you can’t, you’re out. – Johnny Carson

As long as I don’t commit any crimes, you have no right to judge me except by my performance as a professional. On that level, you’re welcome to think whatever you want about me. – Johnny Carson

From the time I was a little kid, I was always shy. Performing was when I was outgoing. So I guess I am a loner. I get claustrophobia if a lot of people are around. – Johnny Carson

I don’t think it’s you that changes with success – it’s the people around you who change. Because of your new status, they change in relation to you. – Johnny Carson

Find me any performer anywhere who isn’t egocentric. You’d better believe you’re good, or you’ve got no business being out there. – Johnny Carson

There’s a lot of hypocrisy in audiences. I’d never dream of telling even on a nightclub stage, let alone my show, some of the jokes that are told in a lot of the living rooms from which we get those letters! – Johnny Carson

I demand my right to a private life, just as I respect that right for everybody else. – Johnny Carson

Like their parents, kids flock to see James Bond and Derek Flint movies – outrageously antiheroic heroes who break all the taboos, making attractive the very things the kids are told they shouldn’t do themselves. – Johnny Carson

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

He’s so fat, he can be his own running mate. – Johnny Carson

The Champagne they have stored is getting more valuable every year. – Johnny Carson

Nancy Reagan fell down and broke her hair. – Johnny Carson

They say atomic rad-i-ation can hurt your reproductive organs. My answer is, so can a hockey stick. But we don’t stop building them. – Johnny Carson

The best way to thaw a frozen turkey? Blow in its ear. – Johnny Carson

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

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

The Hollywood tradition I like best is called “sucking up to the stars. – Johnny Carson

Maybe we should hold the next [Olympic] games in Afghanistan and hope the Soviets pull out of that one too. – Johnny Carson

The good news is that the president gets another chance. The bad news is that he’ll be two weeks older. – Johnny Carson

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

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

We’re more effective than birth control pills. – Johnny Carson

I am taking the applause sign home, putting it in the bedroom. – Johnny Carson

I have an ego like anybody else, but I don’t need to be stoked by going before the public all the time. – Johnny Carson

People are hypocrites. If you ask them what they want to see on TV, they’ll tell you they want better quality programming. And then what do they watch? ‘Gilligan’s Island.’ – Johnny Carson

The only issue cash presents you is the independence of not stressing about funds. – Johnny Carson

That would have been a great ticket, Reagan and Ford – an actor and a stuntman. – Johnny Carson

If you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll like yourself, you’ll have inner peace. – Johnny Carson

Democracy means free television, not good television, but free. – Johnny Carson

We have two kinds of air: regular and chunky style. – Johnny Carson

Happiness is being served with a paternity suit on your 75th birthday. – Johnny Carson

Pittsburgh is kind of like Newark without the cultural advantages. – Johnny Carson

I see a lot of new faces. Especially on the old faces. – Johnny Carson

NBC’s a little jealous of CNN correspondent Wolf Blitzer. They want to get a reporter with a macho-sounding name too, so they’re changing Irving R. Levine’s name to Scud Shrapnel. – Johnny Carson

Egyptian President Sadat had a belly dancer entertain President Nixon at a state dinner. Mr. Nixon was really impressed. He hadn’t seen contortions like that since Rose Mary Woods. – Johnny Carson

Do you know my dream? I really want to become an aluminum-siding salesman. – Johnny Carson

Having money gives me the freedom to worry about the things that really matter. – Johnny Carson

Happiness is a tiger in your tank and a pussycat in your back seat. – Johnny Carson

It’s silly to have as one’s sole object in life just making money, accumulating wealth. I work because I enjoy what I’m doing, and the fact that I make money at it – big money – is a fine-and-dandy side fact. Money gives me just one big thing that’s really important, and that’s the freedom of not having to worry about money. I’m concerned about values – moral, ethical, human values – my own, other people’s, the country’s, the world’s values. Having money now gives me the freedom to worry about the things that really matter. – Johnny Carson

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