Cognac the Magnificent

Jerry Zezima

Jerry Zezima

President’s Message

By Jerry Zezima
National Society of Newspaper Columnists

During his 30-year reign as the king of late-night TV, “Tonight Show” host Johnny Carson assumed the role of many characters in skits performed with sidekick Ed McMahon. One of his most popular was Carnac the Magnificent, the turbaned wise guy who would divine the answers to questions on envelope-sealed cards (“kept in a mayonnaise jar on Funk & Wagnalls’ porch since noon today”) that McMahon handed to him.
Johnny Carson, Carnac the Magnificent.

Johnny Carson, Carnac the Magnificent.

The jokes were corny, sure, but they never failed to get laughs … or groans. At the end of each skit,

McMahon would announce in his booming voice, “I hold in my hand the last envelope.”

The audience, much to Carson’s faked consternation, would erupt in applause.
I will now assume the role of Cognac the Magnificent, which will play better in the hospitality suite. Please imagine Ed McMahon saying, “You hold in your hands Jerry Zezima’s last President’s Message.”
While I fake consternation, you may erupt in applause.
You have been a polite and patient audience these past two years, during which I have mused, sometimes amusingly, on various subjects, a few of which actually had a direct bearing on the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.
I want to keep this final one short, so I will say only three things:
First, I and the rest of the board heartily endorse the slate of candidates up for election at the general meeting, which will be held Sunday, June 26, from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the Hotel Angeleno in Los Angeles. The candidates are: Lisa Smith Molinari (president), Mike Morin (vice president), Bonnie Jean Feldkamp (director of media) and Mike Leonard (up for re-election as scholarship chair). They are all terrific and I hope they get the votes of all the attendees at this year’s conference.
Second, I hope you will be among the attendees. We have a great schedule and we will, as always, have a fantastic time.
And finally, thank you. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as president of the NSNC, the best journalistic organization in the world.
Now all I have to do is figure out how to get mayonnaise jars and bottles of cognac in the hospitality suite.
* * *
Stamford Advocate humor columnist Jerry Zezima is the author of three books. His latest is Grandfather Knows Best.
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