Not sure if you caught it, but Ed McMahon died on Tuesday at the age of 86.
Johnny Carson's sidekick on The Tonight Show for almost three
decades, McMahon, who actually went to high school in Lowell, was best
known for his role as a straight man which contrasted perfectly with
Johnny's quick-witted comedic styling.
"His response of 'Hi-yo!' to a particularly racy Carson line," Mark
Feeney of the Globe wrote, "was a boys-will-be-boys battle cry, and his
nightly introduction — 'Heeeere?s Johnny!' — became one of the
best-known catchphrases in popular culture."
In honor of McMahon — and the amazing impression
of him by the late Phil Hartman (see clip No. 6) — I bring you
tonight's top 10 list (and yes, I know that the Top Ten List is a
staple of the Late Show with David Letterman, but play along):
The top 10 Boston sports figures who would make great talk-show sidekicks; let's count 'em down.
10. Kevin Garnett
He'd be terrific, if only for his catchphrase: "Anything's possible!!!!!!"
9. Ted Williams
Ole Teddy Ballgame might shy away from the spotlight and his
language would be better suited for a mature audience ? but even though
he's no longer with us, whenever people saw him walk down the street, they'd say, "There goes the greatest talk-show sidekick who ever lived."
8. Bill Belichick
OK, based on the Pats coach's press conferences, this might just be
the most boring talk show in history. He'll spout cliché after cliché
and will never say anything to rile up opposing teams, but at least he
might create a huge fad around Patriots Nation with those cutoff
7. Milan Lucic
Anyone who does that much talking with his fists (136 PIM in
2008-'09) should be able to do a pretty adequate job of talking with
6. Jonathan Papelbon
On the plus side, he's made some pretty interesting comments in the past week, like that "anywhere is a possibility,"
when asked if he'd consider signing with the Yankees once his current
Red Sox contract expired. On the negative side, he has a propensity to
do on-field Irish jigs after winning championships.
5. Tom Brady
He's intelligent, well-spoken and easy on the eyes (at least
according to every woman I've ever met ? with eyes). And sitting in the
sidekick chair will mean he won't be putting pressure on his surgically
4. Tommy Heinsohn
You know he'd be the most loyal, homer of a sidekick you've ever seen. And he wouldn't be afraid to go berserk or make fun of the guests. He'd also have an intriguing way of rating the guests, awarding Tommy Points for jokes or stories that require extra effort.
3. Denis Leary
OK, so he's not exactly a sports figure. But he's a huge fan of Boston sports, he's one of the Hollywood A-listers who always plays in those celebrity hockey games and Rescue Me is the best show on TV this summer. Oh, and have you seen the clip of Leary and co-star Lenny Clarke in the NESN booth during a 2005 Red Sox broadcast? I'd suggest finishing your coffee before watching.
2. The Bruins Bear
Did you see the B's playoff commercials? The bear doesn?t have to say a word. Two words: comedy gold.
1. Curt Schilling
You've read his blog, 38 Pitches.
You've heard him on WEEI. You've seen his bloody sock. This is the
sidekick who isn't afraid to say whatever's on his mind. And whether
you agree with him or not, you can't help being entertained.
But none of them will ever stack up to you. RIP, Ed McMahon.