Long before Jimmy Fallon was running The Tonight Show, legendary Johnny Carson would have musical guests play. And their performance could make or break their careers.
But one day, Carson needed to fill a music spot at the last minute. So what did he do? He turned to the audience. Little did Dave Tolley know, that the ticket he bought to The Tonight Show would change his life forever…
While Tolley was an excellent pianist who had been playing for years, he still hadn’t gotten his big break.
But when Johnny Carson’s musical act canceled at the last minute, Tolley’s chance finally came. The charismatic TV host turned to the audience to find someone who could fill the slot.
After the scheduled guest, who was a famed pianist, got injured and couldn’t play, Carson figured he’d turn to the audience and see if anyone could play piano.
It was Dave Tolley’s big day. He got up on stage wearing his t-shirt and sandals.
“You know this is not set up,” Carson says, “because David would not dress this way.”
Watch the awesome impromptu performance by Dave Tolley on The Tonight Show back in 1985.
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