Interview :David Letterman He's No Johnny Carson

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A. Many reasons. First of all, personally, if it had not been for the Tonight show and Johnny Carson, I wouldn't have a car -- probably wouldn't have shoes. But the real reason I look up to the guy is the longer I do this, the more respect I have for him. Show me somebody else in the history of television who has not only survived but also dominated for a quarter of a century. I think if you don't have respect for that, there's something wrong with you.

And he still makes me laugh. In fact, I don't even watch the Tonight show because how good he is makes me nervous and insecure. I look at that show, and I say to myself, "Yeah, see, you're no Johnny Carson."

Q. What else do you want to do with your life?

A. Well, this is it. All I ever wanted to do is to have a television show. And I've got one. So from that standpoint I feel like I've succeeded. I also think the Tonight show is the only other show I would do. I think once this show is canceled or once I get fired, you'll never see me again in another TV show of my own. It's just too much work, too heartbreaking, and if you've done it once, congratulations.

At some point during the article can you mention that I'm looking tan and well rested? I know I'm not, but I always think that makes for a real successful piece.

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