Ed McMahon, Johnny Carson’s announcer and sidekick of 30 years on The Tonight Show passed away on June 23, 2009 at age 86.
It’s hard to imagine someone better suited for the role he performed than Ed McMahon.
By the sheer will and strength of his often-forced laughter, McMahon could get us to laugh out loud at Johnny’s jokes, regardless of how funny they were – or how funny they weren’t.
I’m certain everyone whom he entertained has a favorite Ed McMahon story… this is mine:
One night on TV, about 1970, Johnny Carson made a declaration of some sort (…long since forgotten), and Ed simply let it pass with minimal (or no) reaction.
Johnny questioned that, wondering why Ed didn’t react to whatever it was. Ed apologized and suggested that they try it again, and so Johnny made his declaration once more.
After a quick beat, Ed responded (quite loudly and enthusiastically, I might add) “WELL, I’LL BE DAMNED!”
Carson was momentarily dumbstruck, and I was rolling on the floor laughing at this truly unexpected retort! Made all the more so because, in 1970, it was rare to speak in such a manner on television – even in late night!
And, strictly to me, Ed McMahon will also be remembered for a very funny guest appearance in the comic book HOWARD THE DUCK # 33 (1986) where he laughed at everything Howard said, as well.
…Although I wish I could have remembered him for showing up at my home with one of those Big Checks, he was given to carrying around on Super Bowl Sunday!