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The Tonight Show: Misc



Up to date as of February 02, 2010

From Muppet Wiki

Spoofing Johnny's famous set

The Tonight Show is a long-running American late-night talk and variety show airing on NBC on which Jim Henson and the Muppets have made many guest appearances.

The Tonight Show is the third longest-running entertainment program in U.S. television history. The show was hosted by Steve Allen (1953–57), Jack Paar (1957–62), Johnny Carson (1962–92), Jay Leno (1992–2009, 2010-) and Conan O'Brien (2009-2010).


Tonight! (1953-1957)

Steve Allen host the program from 1953 to 1957, though his hosting duties were decreased when Allen's new show The Steve Allen Show premiered in 1956. The show originated for local New York City television in its first year, but was picked up nationally by NBC in September 1954. Andy Williams was the resident singer.


The Jack Paar Show (1957–1962)

Following Allen's departure, the series changed hosts with Jack Paar taking the reigns. Though officially still called The Tonight Show, it was also marketed as The Jack Paar Show.


  • November 1, 1957 - The Muppets appear

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962–1992)

Kermit guest hosting in 1979

Johnny Carson took over hosting with Ed McMahon as his sidekick. For all but a few months of its first decade on the air, Carson's show was based in New York City. In May 1972 the show moved to Burbank, California, (although it was announced as coming from nearby Hollywood) for the remainder of his tenure.

Kermit the Frog guest hosted the show for Johnny Carson in 1979, while Grover performed "Near and Far" for the first time on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show in the 1969-1970 season.


  • December 31, 1965 - Two sketches were performed. In one a Whatnot continually knocks at someone's door as he gets drunk and sings "Let Me In". Immediately afterward, Kermit performed the "Inchworm" sketch with Big V.
  • 1968 - Limbo: The Organized Mind
  • 1970 - Grover performs "Near and Far."
  • May 24, 1974 - Jim Henson and Dave Goelz perform Limbo: The Organized Mind; Jim and Kermit are interviewed by Johnny Carson, and Kermit sings "Bein' Green". [2]
  • September 14, 1976 - Jim Henson and Frank Oz perform a live sketch with The Swedish Chef followed by a short interview with Kermit and Fozzie Bear. Jim Henson talks about his new series "The Muppet Show" and showing a making of The Raggmopps clip.
  • September 13, 1977 - Kermit sings "Happy Feet". Jim discuss his second season of "The Muppet Show" and a full clip of Pigs in Space: The Captain's Controls and a quick interview with Link Hogthrob.
  • April 2, 1979 - Kermit the Frog guest-hosts (other Muppets appear)
  • April 17, 1989 - Jim Henson and Kermit promote The Jim Henson Hour with guest host Jay Leno. A clip of Jacques Roach is shown. Other guests included Loretta Lynn and Tom Brokaw.


  • Sesame Street episode 4173 featured two inserts where Big Bird presents Snuffy (by saying "Heeeeeeeeere's Snuffy!"), followed by a short riff of "Johnny's Theme".
  • Frequent guest host Jay Leno appeared in a Sesame Street skit with Big Bird. When Big Bird learns that his friend "Johnny" is unable to come play, Jay appears to sit-in for Johnny (something he says he loves doing). Leno fills Johnny's chair and the two play "One of These Things." Afterwards Big Bird remarks that "he really was good at sitting-in for Johnny." (
  • Footage from The Tonight Show was edited into the Muppet Babies episode "I Want My Muppet TV!", when Baby Piggy imagines appearing on the show (which she refers to as "The Johnny Carson Show").
  • The Sesame Street video, Learning About Numbers, has a framing story with Big Bird hosting a Tonight Show-esque program.

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (1992-2009, 2010-)

Johnny Carson retired in May 1992 and was replaced by Jay Leno. Kevin Eubanks was the bandleader for the program from 1995 until 2009.



  • Leno and Eubanks appeared in "The Cameo Show" episode of Muppets Tonight. Leno volunteers to help out on the show, but Bobo turns him down because he doesn't recognize him as someone famouse - however he does recognize Eubanks (who he is a big fan of).


  • May 25, 2009 - Leno shows a sequence of clips with Mel Gibson, after which they comment at how young and good-looking they were. "In ten years time we'll be sitting here looking at this going 'hey, we looked real good!' We'll be looking like the hecklers on The Muppet Show or something."

The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien (2009-2010)


  • September 18, 2009 - Conan shows a clip of Barack Obama's speech with clips of Statler and Waldorf heckling.
  • November 5, 2009 - Conan shows guest Jim Carrey a montage of clips from various A Christmas Carol adaptatons to show Carrey that his 2009 film is not the first time the Dickens story has been made into a movie. The montage included clips from The Muppet Christmas Carol.



  1. "The Tonight Show: October 11, 1956",
  2. "The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson: Show #2088",

External links

  • "Unhappy New Year" - transcript of Miss Piggy's New Year's Eve 1996 appearance

This article uses material from the "The Tonight Show" article on the Muppet wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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