Friday, October 2, 2015

Johnny Carson explains how shyness made him want to perform

Johnny Carson: I grew up in the Midwest . . . I guess what you'd call a normal upbringing. . . . My folks were supportive of what I wanted to do.

Interviewer: Did you always know what you wanted to do?

Carson: Oh yeah, oh sure.

Interviewer: From the very beginning? How old?

Carson: I must have been about 12 or 13 years old, and I knew I wanted to entertain.

Interviewer: You liked the attention?

Carson: Oh, sure.

Interviewer: But why? Why you? I mean, why at age 12 or 13?

Carson: Because I was in a play or something and I got up, and people laughed . . . so it makes you the center of attention.

Interviewer: Yes, but why did you want the attention?

Carson: Why did I want the attention? Because I was shy. Because I was shy. Now, that sounds like ambivalence, right?

Interviewer: No, not at all.

Carson: On stage, you see, when you're on stage in front of an audience, you are kind of in control. When you're off of the stage, or you're in a situation when you're with a lot of people, you are not in control. And I felt awkward. So I went into show business thinking . . . I could overcome that shyness.