In a delightful mood tonight, host Johnny Carson introduced a new young performer from New York who excels in acting, writing, and comedy. Billy Crystal, who would later appear on The Dean Martin roast of Muhammad Ali on NBC, took the stage for his first appearance on The Tonight Show.

Crystal’s unique style is not easy to describe, which is why his talent is admired. He combines comedy with the intimate and relaxed vibe of the late-night after-hours singers. These musicians would entertain in small clubs, taking their time to talk and connect with the audience before starting to sing. Inspired by their approach, Crystal developed a character called the mood comic.

As the mood lighting set the ambiance, Crystal transported the audience to a late-night jazz club. The stage was set for his mood comic persona, and he began his act with the perfect mix of charm and humor. The audience loved it, and Crystal’s self-deprecating jokes, quick wit, and impeccable timing kept the laughs coming.

Crystal’s act included jokes about his showbiz upbringing, where his father ran a newsstand selling variety magazines. He shared his admiration for the late-night singers and their ability to relax and captivate the audience before belting out their songs. Crystal took this inspiration and created his own comedy style, infusing it with the same laid-back atmosphere the singers brought to their performances.

Throughout his act, Crystal didn’t shy away from improvisation, engaging with the band members and showcasing his musical talent. His jokes touched on various topics, from Hollywood and inflation to hilarious anecdotes about his dog. Crystal effortlessly switched between impressions, including Fred Astaire and his signature cigarette trick.

The crowd couldn’t get enough of Crystal’s mix of mood jokes and humorous storytelling. With each passing minute, he proved himself as a master comedian, winning over the audience with his clever quips and relatable observations. His performance was met with applause and laughter, and his talent for blending comedy with a mood-setting experience left a lasting impression.

Johnny Carson himself praised Crystal’s unique approach to comedy, highlighting that it was refreshing to see a performer who didn’t rely solely on traditional stand-up routines. Crystal’s ability to take a premise and create something entirely new and entertaining was truly remarkable.

Billy Crystal‘s first appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson was a resounding success, revealing his incredible comedic talent and leaving the audience eager for more. With his fresh style and ability to transport the audience to a late-night jazz club, Crystal proved that he was a force to be reckoned with in the world of comedy.

Originally aired on January 22, 1976