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Ranking The 5 Best Johnny Carson Tonight Show Guests Of All Time



The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson remains the most successful late night television program in the history of the medium. Carson’s template was so effective that it is still used to this very day.

Every late night host since Carson’s departure from the Tonight Show in May of 1992 has been playing catch-up with Carson, and none have come close.

We wanted to take the time to rank our five favorite guests from the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Here’s our list,

5) Frank Sinatra

The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson

Frank Sinatra didn’t do many interviews, and when he did them, it was rare to see anybody question him. Like a King, Sinatra rarely faced criticism, especially publicly, except for when he was sitting on the Tonight Show couch with Don Rickles. The Tonight Show provided a unique platform for Sinatra to show his true personality.

4) Robin Williams

The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson

Robin Williams had energy like no other human being on planet Earth. He had many great television appearances throughout the years, but his appearances on Carson were always the best.

3) Burt Reynolds

The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson

Burt Reynolds ruled the 70s, and consequently, ruled the Tonight Show as well. The famed actor is said to have appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson 61 times over the years, making him possibly the most frequent guest in show history.

2) Jackie Gleason

The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson

Though he only made one appearance on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, “The Great One,” simply stole the show. America’s original star, Jackie Gleason made his first and only appearance on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1985.

1) Don Rickles

The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson

I can hear the theme music in my head now. Don Rickles, undoubtedly the best Carson guest of all time, appeared on the show more than 100 times. Rickles ripped everybody on the show, including Carson himself. His appearances will live in infamy!



  1. ronald murray

    April 23, 2024 at 12:33 pm

    Seem to me Dean Martin should be on that list…He was a very funny man!

    • Troy Smith

      April 23, 2024 at 6:48 pm

      Thank you for this! We will do a follow up with the best mentions from the comments!

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