After leaving the ‘Tonight Show,’ Johnny Carson learned Swahili.
After leaving The Tonight Show in 1992, late-night host Johnny Carson kept himself busy by flying and yachting around the world.
And, despite the fact that he had almost vanished from public view, he appeared to be a communicator and entertainer at heart.
The television legend learned Swahili in order to prepare for a trip to Africa.
Was he, however, successful in impressing the locals?
“Herewith, I will attest, to see Johnny Carson speak Swahili is a remarkable thing,” an Esquire writer wrote in 2002.
He’s regaled me with dizzying waves of it, and he’s clearly giddy about it.”
The beloved host, who was born in Iowa and raised in Nebraska, reportedly taught himself before traveling to Africa, according to the story.
Carson described Swahili as “a lovely language.”
“It flows well and is relatively simple.”
“I had a lot of fun learning just enough to communicate with people in Africa,” he continued.
Carson claimed to be able to entertain locals but not to be able to read a newspaper, despite the fact that the tour crew had brought him a copy of the Nairobi Times.
“They mistakenly believed I was that skilled, but I wasn’t.”
He shared, “I had to con my way through it, like I’m reading my newspaper.”
“However, it was a pleasant experience.”
Jim Fowler, a wildlife expert and longtime Carson friend, recalled a trip to Africa with the host after his retirement from The Tonight Show.
He told Esquire that Carson said the three-week pilgrimage changed his life, and that they were joined by Carson’s wife, Alexis, and two sons.
According to WALB News, he asked, “Did you know that he learned Swahili in just four months before the trip?”
When we arrived in Africa, he was speaking to the staff in Swahili.
Carson, according to Fowler, had “more knowledge and appreciation for the natural world” than most people would have expected.
“We saw a lot of lions, leopards, hyenas, and wildebeests.”
“Elephants are rushing into the camp,” he explained.
Following Carson’s retirement, Bob Wright, Carson’s former boss at NBC, told Today that he also traveled the world with him.
“We went to Russia, and he learned Russian in about five months before we went,” Wright revealed.
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