Carl Sagan on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show

It’s interesting to listen to old shows featuring scientists like Carl Sagan attempting to educate people on the latest science, which included at the time the growing evidence that the dinosaurs were wiped out by a cometary collision. We take this knowledge for granted now, but the history of our understanding of the natural world is often so brief it’s captured on celluloid.

When was the last time any late night prime time TV show had a guest as educated and informative as Carl Sagan? Usually it’s some vapid celebrity and their idiotic life stories I’m supposed to care about. It used to be guys like Carson elevated the discourse. His replacement, a man known more for his obsession with cars than anything else, is still continuing his crusade to entertain senior citizens. It’s not even good background noise anymore.

Comments (4)

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    Talk shows here in the UK have also been dumbed down extensively, featuring folk who are just “famous” for being famous, as far as I can see. Carl Sagan and his ilk are like shining beacons in my book. That man was always one of my heroes and his enthusiasm was without parallel. Hopefully there may be more like him waiting in the wings but I doubt it somehow.

  • avatar

    Carlin Liao

    …Do The Daily Show or The Colbert Report count?

  • avatar


    I remember Neil DeGrasse Tyson was on the tonight show with jay leno a coulple of years ago. No Carl Sagan but we don’t really have another Carl Sagan.

  • avatar


    I think late night shows invite some scientists here and there. A few months ago I saw Michio Kaku on Conan.

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