Madeline Kahn made a captivating appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, showcasing her impeccable acting skills and discussing her latest project, Love Letters. The talented actress, who was starring in the play alongside Dabney Coleman, revealed that the production was an incredible experience for everyone involved.

Love Letters is a unique play that revolves around a series of letters between a young man and a young woman who have known each other since childhood. As the play progresses, the characters go through different stages of their lives and share their deepest emotions through the written word. Madeline Kahn‘s portrayal of the characters, starting from the age of seven, was nothing short of impressive.

During her conversation with Johnny Carson, Kahn admitted that she doesn’t consciously change her voice. Instead, she immerses herself in the role and lets her emotions guide her. She believes that being in touch with her true self allows her to bring out the authenticity in her performances.

Carson noticed that despite trying to sound serious, Kahn’s voice always had a lilt that added a touch of humor to her delivery. Kahn pondered this observation and concluded that perhaps the reason behind it is that she feels more herself when playing younger characters. She explained that during childhood, one is unfiltered and doesn’t worry about how they sound or appear to others. This unapologetic authenticity often resonates with audiences and elicits laughter.

Moving on to a lighter topic, Carson asked Kahn about her phobias. With a touch of comedic flair, Kahn confessed that she has an irrational fear of balls coming towards her. This phobia, known as testophobia, emerges when she sees balls of any kind approaching her. While it may limit her participation in certain sports, Kahn excels in activities such as swimming and dancing.

The conversation took an unexpected turn when Carson mentioned water polo, playfully insinuating that Kahn should avoid it due to her fear of incoming balls. Seizing the opportunity to inject humor into the conversation, Kahn shared an amusing anecdote about General George Patton’s fear of being shot in the nose. This unexpected detour highlighted the spontaneity and quick wit that both Kahn and Carson possessed.

Aside from her acting career, Kahn revealed that she was part of a television special where she showcased her singing abilities. Despite feeling a little strange about it, she embraced the opportunity to explore different genres and experiment with her voice. Kahn mentioned that she was classically trained in opera, which Carson found intriguing. He commented on Kahn’s occasional octave changes while speaking, to which she responded with her belief that voices should have the freedom to express themselves naturally.

The conversation took a playful turn as Carson brought up his observation that some animals react strangely to certain voices, such as cats rolling over when Kahn speaks. They discussed the possibility that overtone or pitch variations in voices might be the cause of such reactions. This lighthearted banter demonstrated the rapport between the two entertainers and kept the audience engaged throughout the interview.

Overall, Madeline Kahn‘s appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson was a delightful mix of insightful conversation and entertaining anecdotes. Her talent and versatility were evident as she effortlessly transitioned from discussing her role in Love Letters to sharing amusing stories about phobias and singing aspirations. Kahn’s ability to find humor in everyday situations made for a memorable interview that showcased her charm and charisma.

Originally aired on July 18, 1991