Best Johnny Carson Show Regular Guests

Johnny Carson was on the air for a long time and had a lot of great guests. From animals to stand-ups to the “oldest farmer in the state of Illinois,” Carson had thousands of guests over his 6,000-plus episodes. 

Thanks to the magic of YouTube, we can rewatch many of Johnny Carson’s regular guests. These were the ones he kept bringing back because they made him and the rest of America laugh.

Joan Rivers 

Joan Rivers became a “permanent guest host” in 1983 and amassed nearly 93 appearances as a guest and guest host, the most of any woman and the most of any stand-up comic.

?On February 17, 1965, Joan Rivers made her first appearance on ‘The Tonight Show’

— RetroNewsNow (@RetroNewsNow) February 18, 2021

This lasted until 1986 when Rivers left to start her late-night show. The perceived slight insulted Carson and Rivers became blacklisted from the Tonight Show until 2014, nearly 30 years later. 

Related: Joan Rivers’ Daughter Melissa Reveals Why Her Mother Never Would Have Been Cancelled

Don Rickles 

We’ve written about Don Rickles already, but it bears repeating that Mr. Warmth was always a favored guest and even a guest host on several occasions, where the massive guests came out to razz Rickles.

When you make it in to work on time Monday morning ????? Duke appearing on The Tonight Show with guest host Don Rickles, along with his friends Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, & Bob Hope in 1975

— John Wayne Official (@JohnDukeWayne) June 17, 2019

Happy Birthday to the legend, Mr. Warmth himself, Mr. Don Rickles! Here in 1976 appearing on The Tonight Show with Frank Sinatra and Johnny Carson. #ATCpresents #iconsofcomedy #donrickles #mrwarmth

— All Things Comedy (@allthingscomedy) May 9, 2019

Robin Williams 

Robin Williams is probably the best late-night guest ever, in my opinion. His off-the-wall energy and fearlessness were infectious. He would take over the whole show. Carson would try to rein him in but often let the comedic genius roam unfettered on set. 

Johnny Carson: So, let’s talk about your new movie, ‘Hello, Vietnam’…

Robin Williams: …’Good Morning, Vietnam’!…’Hello, Vietnam’ would have been much better. We could have made it as a musical,…’It’s Ethel Merman here in the paddies.’

— ‘Tonight Show’ (December 1987)

— RetroNewsNow (@RetroNewsNow) December 6, 2019

Robin Williams’ first appearance on

— Classic Movies & TV Shows (@ClassicFilmTV) September 9, 2021

Related: Robin Williams’ Daughter Makes Desperate Plea to Fans

Rodney Dangerfield

GOT NO RESPECT AT ALL! Rodney was always the best because he would do his act while sitting with Johnny and Carson, and Ed would keel over at the classic jokes. 

Related: Dean Martin Can’t Keep A Straight Face When Rodney Dangerfield Explains His Childhood

Bob Newhart

Newhart also guest-hosted dozens of times. His dry, deadpan humor was always a delight. 

Robin Williams’ first appearance on

— Classic Movies & TV Shows (@ClassicFilmTV) September 9, 2021

Related: Bob Newhart Reminds Ben Stiller He’s Still Alive During Emmy Awards

Honorable Mentions

Here are a few other great guests Johnny had on. 

  • Carol Burnett 
  • Bob Hope
  • Johnathan Winters 
  • Dolly Parton
  • Steve Martin

Related: Watch Johnny Carson’s Reaction When Dolly Parton Sings A Song She Wrote For Him

Who was your favorite Johnny Carson guest? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Mentioned in this article:

More About: