Like Jimmy Fallon, “Tonight Show” legend Johnny Carson battled the demon of the bottle.
But Johnny kept his drinking on the down-low by using his sidekick Ed McMahon as a foil, The National ENQUIRER has learned.
“Ed took the blame,” said the showbiz insider. “On the show, Johnny would make fun of Ed for being a drunk — but Johnny had a much more severe problem!”
When Johnny was under the influence, his dark side came out, added the source.
“Johnny was an ugly drunk,” the insider said.
Unlike Jimmy, the iconic “King of Late Night TV” — who died at age 79 in 2005 — managed to keep his drinking out of the public eye.
“Johnny was shrewd,” the source said. “He drank more at home. He’d do the show and go home and tie one on every night.”