Johnny Carson: Student of Comedy

"Johnny Carson: Student of Comedy" was created in 2007 by two students from the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film (Josie Azzam and John Albrecht) and two students from the College of Journalism and Mass Communications (Trevor Hall and Justin Peterson), in cooperation with Nebraska Educational Telecommunications (NET).

The film traces the rise of Johnny Carson from a young man in Norfolk, Neb. and a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to one of the great entertainment icons of all time. The four students received assistance from Jeff Sotzing and Carson Entertainment Group to provide rare footage and timely interviews with those who knew or were influenced by Johnny Carson, including Conan O'Brien, Dick Cavett, Jay Leno and David Letterman. The film was originally shown at the Dedication of the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film in 2007.


Johnny Carson thesis

Entertainment and television icon Johnny Carson received his bachelor of arts degree in radio and speech (with a minor in physics) in 1949 from the University of Nebraska. While at Nebraska, he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and served as master of ceremonies for the Kosmet Klub, a male dramatic society.

Before completing his bachelor of arts degree, Carson did a senior thesis for his broadcasting professor, William Dempsey. His 1949 senior thesis was entitled "How to Write Comedy for Radio," which he recorded on a reel-to-reel tape. The 45-minute recording was a scholarly examination of the techniques and devices that radio comedy writers used to construct the jokes and gags in comedy radio shows. Using bits from several well-known comedians, such as Jack Benny and Bob Hope, Carson illustrated the various techniques used to write comedy, which he later effectively used in television through his "Tonight Show" monologues.

Download the thesis from the Digital Commons.