Sunday, January 22, 2023

Barbara Walters said sitting with Johnny Carson was a ‘punishment’

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When Johnny Carson spoke to the legendary journalist and The view Creator Barbara Walters The Tonight Show In 1983, shortly after she interviewed him for one of her television specials.

Carson wasn’t exactly known for generously granting interviews in his long entertainment career. After he answered questions from Walters, she did the same for him. And she revealed to his audience that she expected sitting down for their late-night chat would be a “punishment” for her past actions and questions towards him.

During an interview from 1983 on The Tonight Show, Walters chatted with Carson about a previous meeting they had that she had moderated. That was after she had called him and asked him every year for eight years, only to receive a polite phone call that denied her request in return.

When Carson finally agreed to be interviewed in one of Walter’s television specials, the deal came with a stipulation as he also had a show.

Soon after sitting down The Tonight Show, Walters shared that her previous interview with Carson was just two days prior. “And this is my punishment,” she explained.

Remarkably, Carson didn’t seem to be “punishing” Walters with his questions after all was said and done. Instead, he apparently wanted to learn about and rave about their abilities.

Carson told the audience Walters asked an intimate question to open their interview. He said she told him they wouldn’t get into “too personal” things, but asked Carson, “What was your first sexual experience?”

“Was that a joke?” he asked her before adding, “I started responding to that.”

Walters confirmed that she’d asked, and it was a tactic she used to “loosen up” him for the rest of their conversation. He had a reputation for being a bit shy or even “cold and distant,” as she noted. However, he gave her some personal information before realizing it wasn’t a serious question.

Walters told Carson’s playfully Tonight show Co-host Ed McMahon that she thought the host was a “talker,” but Carson said he just wanted to give her a good interview.

Although Carson hosted Who’s Who of Hollywood, he didn’t particularly enjoy sitting down for interviews himself. He explained to Walters why that was.

First, he praised her skills at job interviews, noting that she’s good at it because she makes people comfortable. But he also shared that this quality made him a little nervous because it made it easier to say things he didn’t want to reveal.

“All of a sudden you start telling them things that you might not say,” he explained. He also noted, “You don’t remember what you said after it’s over,” but it’s all on film. He admitted he didn’t feel good about the interview he gave her, but she assured him it was “lovely”.

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