Johnny Carson's Biden and Reagan Clips Resurface, Prove Modern Late Night Hosts Have a Lot To Learn


An old joke from TV legend Johnny Carson at the expense of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is circulating online, and it will surely make you long for the good old days of late night television.

In a 1987 opening monologue, according to Fox News, Carson poked fun at one of Biden’s plagiarism scandals during the then-Delaware senator’s first run for his party’s presidential nomination.

Carson told his “Tonight Show” audience: “On the political scene, one of the Democratic candidates is Sen. Joseph Biden.

“Have you seen the problem he’s been having?”

Carson continued: “He went around and made a speech and apparently he quoted a — I think it was a British politician — took his speech and kind of paraphrased it as his own.

Pope Francis Denies One of the Most Basic Tenets of Christianity in '60 Minutes' Interview

“And then the press got on him,” he added. “And then he was charged also with taking part of Bobby Kennedy’s speeches.”

Then came the punchline.

“And Biden says, ‘Not to worry.’ He reassured his staff, he said, ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself,’” Carson quipped.

It was a fun joke at the expense of a man in Biden who had brought a scandal on himself by borrowing from former British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock while on the stump, as The Washington Post outlined.

Carson left the takedown of Biden’s candidacy to the public and to the rest of the media.

No malice, no obvious agenda.

Carson was just being Carson, and he wanted to offer you a sanctuary for an hour each evening.

Carson would also have a little fun at Republicans’ expense, as this 1982 sketch of then-President Ronald Reagan demonstrates:

Disney Inserts LGBT Jedi Into Children's 'Star Wars' Show

Who couldn’t laugh at that?

Sadly, when Carson retired, so did his brand of all-inclusive humor in late night TV.

Late night is now a partisan lion’s den for conservatives, as liberals such as Stephen Colbert of “The Late Show,” Jimmy Fallon of “The Tonight Show” and Jimmy Kimmel of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” are the ones stumping, and they’re all stumping for Democrats — in lockstep with the establishment media and its agenda.

Inclusive network comedy in the old days wasn’t isolated to Johnny Carson, though.

Look at how the late, great comedian Phil Hartman from “Saturday Night Live” had equal fun at both Presidents Reagan and Bill Clinton’s expense throughout his run on that show:

Hartman and the entire “SNL” cast back in that era had an interest in serving an entire audience, as did Carson on his program.

Today, TV programs such as “SNL” and late night talk shows are merely extensions of the Democratic Party.

Do you still watch late night TV?

There is no interest in writing and performing comedy for the masses. Like professional sports, late night TV has become about tribalism and vilifying Republican elected officials, police officers and the conservative Americans who support them.

Perhaps every American, including today’s late night hosts, would be better served if there were some semblance of balance.

Maybe if American entertainers refrained from alienating half of their audiences, ratings would increase, and Americans could again spend an hour laughing at one another, or themselves, for just a short while.

It would seem like a mutually beneficial situation, and would probably go a long way toward healing the country’s wounds.

But Colbert and Kimmel and those performing on “SNL” these days — whoever they are — have no interest in putting on a show for everybody.

The worst part is that today’s woke late night hosts are not funny, nor do they attempt to be:

Late night TV is dead and buried, and not one person is better off for it.

At least we still have the old clips of Carson to make us laugh.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, , , , , , , , , , , ,
Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.