Johnny Carson Willie Nelson
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Flashback: Johnny Carson Hilariously Impersonates Willie Nelson on 'The Tonight Show'


Just as many of us still attempt to mimic the voices of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Randy "Macho Man" Savage, anyone willing to try out some impressions can usually muster up a singing voice that resembles Willie Nelson's. Of course, not all Willie impressions are created equal. For a good one by a celebrity, either listen to country music legend Jerry Reed's "The Bird" or check out this footage from The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

Julio Iglesias sets up a televised duet as if Nelson himself was going to grace the NBC broadcast. Instead, it's show namesake Johnny Carson, dressed as '80s Willie while eerily resembling Johnny Paycheck.

Sure it's a prank, but real Julio and pretend Willie do a decent job singing the 1984 duet "To All the Girls I've Loved Before." Carson's mastered more than just singing out of his nose. He's also better than most impressionists at nailing Nelson's phrasing style. It's okay that Carson didn't leave his adoring fans in New York City for Nashville or Austin, but the overall performance isn't half bad.


Although Iglesias looks like he wants to laugh throughout the skit, the segment from the June 21, 1984 episode of one of America's most fondly remembered late night TV shows is surprisingly short on bloopers.

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In the 30-year history (1962-1992) of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Carson and his sidekick Ed McMahon offered an invaluable platform to musicians (Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Dean Martin, Bette Midler, bandleader Doc Severinsen) and the top standup comedians of the time (Buddy Hackett, Don Rickles, Tim Conway, Jonathan Winters, Foster Brooks, Red Skelton, George Carlin, Bob Hope, future host Jay Leno).

You can still watch Carson episodes featuring some of popular culture's all-time best singers and songwriters on Antenna TV.


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