via Johnny Carson / YouTube

Given today's fractured media landscape, it's hard to imagine the impact that Johnny Carson had on pop culture.

Throughout most of his run as host of "The Tonight Show" from 1962 to 1992, most of America only had three television channels and there were only two late-night talk shows, at most.

Carson's classy but thoroughly Midwestern persona held up a mirror to American society. His brilliance wasn't just his comedic timing, but his reactions to the celebrities and politicians he interviewed on his show.

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In "The Tonight Show's" first full episode since the Parkland high school shooting, Jimmy Fallon praised the student survivors and explained how he plans to help:

After expressing sympathies for the students and teachers who lost their lives when a 19-year-old gunman tore through the school on Feb. 14, Fallon explained why he's been so in awe of the student survivors.

"I think what the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are doing is unbelievable," he began his monologue.  

Fallon continued (emphasis added):

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Jimmy Fallon's mother Gloria passed away on Nov. 4, at age 68, in New York City. "The Tonight Show" host returned for the first time after her death to NBC Studio 6-B at Rockefeller Plaza to get back to work making us laugh — but only after giving his mom a proper, heartfelt goodbye first:

In a tearful tribute, the talk show host explained how he said goodbye to his mom. "She was the one I was always trying to make laugh, and she was such a fan of the show and everything I did," Fallon said.

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