The perfect interviewer Mike Wallace interviewing the perfect late show talk show host Johnny Carson in 1979. I can’t think of a better combination here other than maybe Mike Wallace interviewing Cary Grant, or someone like that. I believe Johnny answered the Mike Wallace question of why don’t you take on serious topics. By saying that is not what he does. He’s a comedian and his job was to entertain people and make them laugh. He wasn’t Phil Donahue on the air hosting national town hall everyday. His job was literally make fun of what is going on in the world and have fun with it. He did do political satire and would make fun of what is going on in the news and public officials when they screw up. But again doing it in a humorous way.
Carson, was a comedian first and talk show host second. And what he would do with his talk format would be to question other comedians and entertainers, because again his job was to entertain people. Not to inform then on what is going on in the Middle East, or why stocks on Wall Street are down. And he would even interview politicians and other public officials, but generally those people would have good if not great sense of humor’s as well. People like Ron Reagan, Bob Dole, Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy and they would make fun of politics together and perhaps of each other. I believe Carson was interested in politics and current affairs a lot which is why he did read and watch a lot of news, but he wasn’t going to use his show simply cover the issues of the day. But to make fun of what is going on in the world.
CBS News: 60 Minutes- Mike Wallace: Interviewing Johnny Carson, in 1979