The late Johnny Carson has gone down in history as the most iconic talk-show host in the history of television. And cohost Ed McMahon claimed that there many things that Johnny did that his less charming peers couldn’t have gotten away with. With his disarming Midwestern charm, Johnny was able to get away with saying some things to his female guests that may have been a good deal more offensive if they had come from someone else. From telling Dolly Parton he’d pay a year’s salary to get a peak under her clothes to revealing to Madonna that he didn’t know what a bustier was. Join Facts Verse as we look at several times Johnny Carson went way too far with his female guests.
Johnny Carson Allegedly Had a License to Be Lewd
According to friend and cohost Ed McMahon, the late and beloved talk-show host Johnny Carson had a special license for being lewd with his female guest stars that granted to him on account of his disarming Midwestern charm. The late Ed McMahon shared that he felt his former boss did and said things during his tenure as host of The Tonight Show that his less charming contemporaries couldn’t have gotten away with. Especially with such incredibly high ratings.
There seem to have been multiple times during Johnny Carson’s three-decade tenure as host of The Tonight Show that the host nearly got out of line with his female guests. However, as Ed McMahon put it, Johnny knew exactly where to draw the line before his disarming demeanor wouldn’t be enough to keep his guests from feeling uncomfortable. Some of the many gusts that Johnny nearly crossed the line with include Dolly Parton, Lucille Ball, Betty White, Sophia Loren, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and Madonna. Each time, the talk-show host thankfully managed to keep audiences. And his guest, on his side by curtailing his behavior at just the right moment.
Johnny Carson Wanted to See More of Country Singer Dolly Parton Than He Allowed To
Johnny Carson’s infamously lewd interview with country-music legend Dolly Parton occurred in 1977. It is when the country singer was still a relatively new sensation. Johnny, on the other hand, had been holding his seat as the host of The Tonight Show for well over a decade. As soon as Dolly came on the set of the show and sat down beside Johnny, It became instantly apparent to anyone watching that the host interested in much more than just the singer’s music.
Dolly Parton has always known just as much for being a sex symbol as being a country singer. And the icon has never been a stranger to the male gaze. Because of this, Dolly likely wasn’t too offended by what Johnny Carson did and said during her first interview on The Tonight Show. As Johnny’s interview with Dolly progressed, the host continued to bring the interview into adult territory. Eventually, the host proclaimed to Dolly, seemingly in earnest, that he would be willing to pay an entire year’s salary to see her naked bosom. Dolly simply laughed the joke off at the time, but later she would revisit the experience by making a joke of her own claiming that she would pay to take a shower with Johnny.
While audiences may balk at Johnny Carson’s behavior in that 1977 interview with Dolly Parton nowadays, it doesn’t seem as if the country singer very offended by the talk-show host’s behavior. In fact, it seems that Johnny and Dolly maintained an amicable professional relationship following that initial interview. Perhaps, as cohost Ed McMahon suggested, this was a result of Johnny’s Midwestern charm!
Johnny Carson Shocked His Old Friend Lucille Ball
Several years prior to the notorious Dolly Parton interview, Johnny Carson performed an interview with television legend Lucille Ball that was arguably even more problematic. Of course, Johnny and Lucille had been friends for a good many years prior to this interview and remained friends afterwards, so audiences both then and now have understandably taken the interaction with a grain of salt. The interview was going well until Lucille Ball asked Johnny if there was anything that the talk-show host was curious about regarding her that he didn’t already know. Johnny replied by asking Lucille how old she had been when she lost her virginity! Lucille gave a seemingly authentic look of shock, and Johnny laughed and claimed that the shocked reaction she gave was exactly what he had been looking for.
Betty White Claimed Johnny Carson Called Her Whenever He Wanted to Get Nude
Johnny Carson was also a good friend of Betty White’s. Not only would Johnny often have Betty White on The Tonight Show as a guest, but he would frequently bring her on to perform sketches alongside him. These sketches, including one where the pair played Adam and Eve, for some reason always seemed to involve both of the comedic actors being naked. Because of this, Betty White would go on to joke that Johnny simply called her up every time he wanted to take his clothes off. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! Also, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!
Johnny Carson Made Sophia Loren Turn Red
In 1979, Johnny Carson has the good fortune of hosting Italian actress and venerated sex symbol Sophia Loren as a guest on The Tonight Show. Of course, Johnny wasn’t going to go the whole interview without shooting his shot with the beloved female icon, and he did so in classic Johnny Carson fashion. Towards the beginning of Sophia’s appearance on the program, which otherwise consisted of just another run-of-the-mill interview, Johnny Carson pulled out a box and gifted it to the actress. When Sophia opened the box, it was revealed to be a red garter. Johnny then claimed that he had heard Sophia considered the color red lucky, so he wanted her to have a red article of clothing with her during the interview. Why Johnny chose a garter is anybody’s guess!
Sophia Loren seemed relatively unfazed by being granted this sexually-charged item of clothing by Johnny Carson, and returned the favor by offering the talk-show host a small red bag of salt that she kept on her for the exact same purposes. Apparently, Johnny’s intuition had been right, and his gift of the red garter had made it so that Sophia no longer needed her lucky red salt bag. Once again, it seems that Johnny’s charm magically allowed him to interact with a female guest in a way that would’ve been inappropriate for anyone else.
Madonna Taught Johnny What a Bustier Was
By the time that pop singer Madonna made her talk-show debut in 1987, Johnny Carson was towards the end of his three-decade-long tenure as the host of The Tonight Show. According to Madonna, she specifically chose to pop her talk-show cherry with Johnny Carson, and she did so in spectacular fashion. When Madonna showed up for her interview on The Tonight Show, she did so wearing exposed lingerie! Johnny was understandably taken aback by the singer’s appearance, though seemingly in a good way.
Over the course of Johnny’s interview with Madonna, the talk-show host went on to question the singer about her odd choice of clothing. At first, Johnny seemed to think that maybe it was a progressive fashion top that the singer had designed herself. However, Madonna went on to explain that it was just run-of-the-mill lingerie that she had purchased at the store. Johnny then went on to ask Madonna what the name of the item was that she was wearing as a top, to which the singer replied that it was just a regular bustier.
Johnny Carson may have had nearly three decades of experience confronting women on his talk show with humor that oftentimes nearly crossed the line, but it seems the beloved host was out of his element when it came to actually seeing a woman nearly naked in front of him. It took Johnny over 25 years of hosting The Tonight Show to finally learn what a bustier was, and he never forgot the experience!
The Zsa Zsa Gabor Pussy-Petting Story – Is It True?
Besides all of the aforementioned incidents on The Tonight Show that have been documented, Johnny Carson also allegedly had a ribald interaction with Zsa Zsa Gabor that involved a cat the actress brought with her to an interview. According to legend, Zsa Zsa asked Johnny if he wanted to pet her pussy, to which the talk-show host replied that he’d love to… but that there was a cat in the way. The internet seems to love to deny that this rumored interaction ever occurred. However, where there’s smoke, there’s fire!
Jana Fonda confronted Johnny Carson about the Zsa Zsa Gabor rumor during an appearance of her own on The Tonight Show, and Johnny claimed that he had no memory of such events ever unfolding. However, one can easily imagine that Johnny Carson might’ve said such a thing given his predilection for taking things nearly too far with his female guests. Even if this legendary story about Johnny Carson and Zsa Zsa Gabor is untrue, the beloved talk-show host certainly said and did plenty of things during his three-decade tenure on the program that raised some eyebrows.
The Origin of Johnny Carson’s Midwestern Charm
Johnny Carson took the post as host of The Tonight Show in 1962, and he remained it’s host until 1992. The beloved entertainer had been born in Iowa in 1925, and he developed a passion for performing at a young age thanks to mail-in magic kits that he collected as a kid. It was while serving in World War II that Johnny began to enjoy making people laugh, entertaining both his peers and his higher-ups with jokes.
After the war, Johnny Carson moved to New York City in the hopes of becoming a performer. By the late 1950s, he had begun hosting the game show Who Do You Trust? It was while working on this series that Johnny developed his professional relationship with cohost Ed McMahon.
Although Johnny Carson remains the most iconic talk-show host in television history, it seems that the beloved entertainer had a penchant for nearly crossing the line with his female guests. Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that Johnny Carson claimed he’d pay an entire year’s worth of his salary to look at Dolly Parton’s exposed breasts. And that he was rumored to have made an inappropriate remark about Zsa Zsa Gabor’s genitalia? As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!