Moment Johnny Carson Met Oliver The Orangutan Is Just As Funny Decades Later


Most of us will interact with animals at some point in our lives. Dogs and cats are abundant, but a lot of us will have brushes with rabbits, birds, and fish as well.

Even if you’ve walked through a pet store at some point, you’ve probably seen a wide array of critters. Strolling through the zoo only bumps that number up.

But few of us get to encounter exotic animals on a personal level, especially animals that are generally only seen in the wild or in a zoo with specialized care.

Johnny Carson got to meet two young orangutans on The Tonight Show, apparently sometime during the 70s.

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The two orange-furred babies were visiting from the San Diego Zoo, and made quite an impression on Carson and the audience.

Carson, however, did not seem to leave as much of an impression on them, and the two seemed thoroughly disenchanted with the entire situation.

When their caretaker first hauls them onstage, they’re dressed up in baby clothes. They both look dapper in their little outfits.

“…we have raised about 22 at the zoo, and I know that our orangs are very fond of you,” she said to Carson. “And I know that everybody loves to see our latest baby.”

“Oliver is only two and a half months,” the woman said as she picked up the smaller baby and offered him to Carson. “Alright,” said Carson, game enough. “Oliver.”

Oliver was then handed off to Carson, who held him at arm’s length for a moment until he warmed up to the idea and drew him closer.

As the baby orangutan surveyed the scene before him and slowly turned to take in the sight of the show host, Carson couldn’t help but laugh. He had bright orange hair sticking out at all angles. He looked like he’d been electrocuted or at least used a good amount of gel to get his hair in the widespread Mohawk it’s in.

The baby seemed enchanted by the way Carson was laughing, reaching out a hand and lightly brushing Carson’s chin.

The entire time, Oliver maintained an entirely stoic demeanor. He looked almost mournful as he glanced from side to side, eyeing Carson as he laughed.

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The poor little tyke was probably wondering what was going on, but he didn’t look uncomfortable or scared, just supremely bored.

When the lady said that he was actually fairly advanced for his young age, Carson replied with a snappy “He looks like he’s stoned right now.”

The caretaker tried to explain that the other baby, Jonathan, was a little older and had more facial expressions. She also said he reacted to being tickled, but when she tickled him he didn’t respond.

Throughout the interview, Oliver kept awkwardly glancing around. He kept up his unimpressed looks for the entirety of the clip, giving Carson and his audience a fit of the giggles every time he looked around.

This video may have been from years ago, but it’s still just as amusing now as it was then!

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