‘The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson’ welcomed the great Desi Arnaz to the show in 1976. Johnny introduces him, wearing a white jacket with rhinestones and a matching white scarf. It is as if Johnny is in a western movie with this outfit. Desi comes out in a dark, pin-striped suit with gray hair and a cigarette.
Johnny talks about Desi’s book, simply titled ‘A Book.’ Desi tells Johnny that writing a title is too much hassle, so he just calls it what it is! Desi sits on the couch next to comedy legends Bob Hope and Don Rickles.
Desi and Johnny talk about his days in Cuba. Desi says his father was mayor of a town, and his uncle was the chief of police. Desi says, ‘We had that town pretty well wrapped up!’
Desi tells Bob Hope to tell Johnny the story of his first few years in America. Bob says Desi would walk up to his first comedy show and spit all over the microphone. He was eating and had guacamole everywhere, but Bob wanted to give him a chance.
He would fight to give Desi some lines, which went on for two years. Bob says, ‘Then four years later, he was the king of show business!’ Desi said when he was younger, he couldn’t read the lines and didn’t even understand the jokes.
Desi said, ‘Being with Bob was like going to college for a couple of years to study comedy by the master of all comedy.’ He says he wouldn’t be who he is without Bob, and it was the greatest experience of his life.
Desi says later in the show that he wasn’t sure Lucille Ball would work with him on TV until they did a comedy tour. The audience loved them together so much that he knew they’d love the TV couple. It turns out that Desi was right!