Never one of my favorites and nowhere near as funny as his eulogists are claiming. A mediocrity with good technique is how I think of him, one whose main competition was the need for sleep and who came along at a propitious time when the big three networks were the be all and end all. He bailed out just in time in 1992, cable was about to run amuck nationally with the internet shooting its cuffs and waiting the wings for it's glorious coup.
Still and all that, he gave plenty of qaulity air-time to secular rationalist James randi (AKA "The Amazing Randi") a magician with a mission to expose frauds and faith healers of all types. And what the hell, Johnny still felt obligated to book writers and authors on a regular basis he was hardly an illiterate.
But his world is gone now and it isn't coming back just as Jack Paar's cozy video salon so warm and solicitous of all has vanished like the wooly mammoth. No mater how hard Jay Leno and David Letterman try, they can never reach Johnny's lonely eminence because the market is fatally atomized beyond hope of repair.
But I laughed every time he did that "Carnac the Magnificent" schtick.