The Best Comedic Debuts on ‘The Tonight Show’

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Jim Carrey: Less an impressionist than a live-action cartoonist, Jim Carrey floored audiences with his brand.

David Letterman: When David Letterman performed his first set on The Tonight Show on November 24th, 1978.

Stephen Wright: When Steven Wright filmed his first Tonight Show spot on August 6th, 1982, it’s safe to imagine.

David Brenner: Long before Seinfeld hit the scene, David Brenner was the unabashed master of observational comedy.

Ellen DeGeneres: DeGeneres’ first set on The Tonight Show is a small window into the giddy whimsy that has become.

Drew Carey: I’ve never been funnier than those seven minutes I was on The Tonight Show,” Carey told the Onion AV Club in 2012.

Freddie Prinze: There’s a point at which the audience watching Freddie Prinze’s December 6th, 1973 set seems.

Eddie Murphy: By the time Murphy made it to The Tonight Show, America already knew him from Saturday.

Garry Shandling: Though Garry Shandling had spent the late-1970s writing for sitcoms such as Sanford & Son and Welcome Back.

Roseanne Barr: Sometimes, during the Carson era, one spot was enough to introduce an audience to not only a comic.

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